U.S. shoot-down of Iranian drone is the latest escalatory incident that risks all-out war

July 18, 2019
Contact: press@defensepriorities.org

WASHINGTON, DC—Earlier today, the U.S. military reportedly shot down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Defense Priorities Policy Director Benjamin H. Friedman issued the following statement in response:

“The U.S. shoot-down of an Iranian drone is the latest escalation in the crisis between the U.S. and Iran—an outgrowth of more than a year of U.S. pressure on Iran in the wake of U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal. Conditions are set for a miscalculation that could quickly spiral into a broader war. While the U.S. has an unquestionable military advantage, a war would be catastrophic for U.S. and allied interests—likely leading to high casualties, prolonged chaos in the region, and renewed Iranian determination to acquire a bomb.

“Maximum pressure has harmed Iran's economy, but it has failed in its aims—it has encouraged Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program and increase its hardline polices.

“To de-escalate and avoid war, the U.S. should explore the Iranian offer to relax sanctions in exchange for its commitment to verifiably comply with the additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Barring that, the U.S. should end secondary sanctions on our European allies and other buyers of Iranian oil and other goods. That step would likely cause Iran to again comply with the JCPOA's limits on uranium enrichment.”

View a brief explainer on U.S.-Iran policy from Defense Priorities or download the PDF.