Drone downing imperils Trump’s Iran outreach

U.S. forces downed an Iranian drone that approached a Navy warship in the Middle East on Thursday, stoking fears that the two countries will fall into a military confrontation even as they both seek diplomatic openings with each other.

President Donald Trump said the unmanned aircraft “had closed into a very, very near distance, approximately 1,000 yards” of the U.S.S. Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, in the strategically critical waterway known as the Strait of Hormuz. The incident occurred weeks after Iran brought down a U.S. drone in the region.

The event underscores the complex challenges facing Trump: He’s trying to entice Iran to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear program, while also pushing back against Tehran’s dangerous behavior in the region.

Trump is seeking an agreement to curb Iran’s activities after abandoning a 2015 nuclear deal with the country that he said was too limited. So far, however, tensions have only escalated between the two countries, and no new deal is in sight.

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