Iran shot down an American drone on Thursday, supposedly over international waters, which the United States deemed an “unprovoked attack” in the Strait of Hormuz. It’s a further escalation of rising conflict between these countries.

In the aftermath, an American reprisal airstrike against Iranian missile defense systems was first approved, then canceled, by President Trump. Too many leaks from Washington insiders show the Iranians the opposite of what the U.S. hopes to project. Rather than demonstrating restraint, this waffling on a response tells Tehran the U.S. is fragmented and weak.

And the use of the sophisticated but aging BAMS-D RQ-4A Global Hawk drones against “a near-peer adversary” is setting the stage for American drones to be shot down with alarming regularity.

After the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, the tensions with Tehran are evident, but in reality, this has been the situation for many years. The Iranian al-Quds proxy forces operating in Iraq are responsible for hundreds of U.S. combat deaths by advising insurgent forces. Quds are also implicated in other terrorist attacks, including the Marine bombing in Beirut in 1983.

The U.S. recently charged that the Iranians were behind the recent spate of oil tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf. Then on Thursday, the downing of the American drone drove the escalation of tensions to the breaking point.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Spokesman, Navy Captain Bill Urban, released a confirmation statement: “U.S. Central Command can confirm that a U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (or BAMS-D) ISR aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19, 2019.”

The Iranian official news agency Sepah News claimed its Revolutionary Guards shot down a U.S. “spy drone” over the southern province of Hormozgan.

The U.S. was quick to deny this, “No U.S. drone was operating in Iranian airspace today. Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” CENTCOM released in a statement. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”