Iran says it downed US drone, US skeptical

By REUTERS
December 4, 2011 22:03

NATO: Iranian report could refer to US spy drone that went missing; US officials: No indication drone was shot down by Iran.

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Iran's Revolutinary Guard

Iranian Revolutionary Guard 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

TEHRAN - Iranian media reported on Sunday that their country's military had shot down a US reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran, but a US official said there was no indication the aircraft had been shot down.

NATO's US-led mission in neighboring Afghanistan said the Iranian report could refer to an unarmed US spy drone that went missing there last week.

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The incident comes at a time when Tehran is trying to contain foreign outrage at the storming of the British embassy on Tuesday, after London announced sanctions on Iran's central bank in connection with Iran's nuclear enrichment programme.

Iran has announced several times in the past that it shot down US, Israeli or British drones, in incidents that did not provoke high-profile responses.

"Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran," Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted a military source as saying.

"The spy drone, which has been downed with little damage, was seized by the Iranian armed forces," the source said. "The Iranian military's response to the American spy drone's violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran's borders."

Iranian officials were not available to comment further.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said in a statement: "The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week.

"The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."

A US official, who asked not to be named, said: "There is absolutely no indication up to this point that Iranians shot down this drone."


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