'We've asked Iran to return downed US drone'

Obama says US gov't asks Tehran to hand over drone, declines to discuss if loss could compromise US security.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
December 12, 2011 22:04
1 minute read.
Obama at press conference with Maliki

Obama at press conference with Maliki (R) 311. (photo credit: REUTERS Jonathan Ernst)

 
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US President Barack Obama on Monday said the US government had requested the return of a spy drone downed over Iran but declined to discuss if its loss could compromise US national security.

"We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said during a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki after the two met at the White House.

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Iran’s state television showed pictures Thursday of the drone while Revolutionary Guards Commander Ali Hajizadeh said that Iran’s military had tracked the unmanned aircraft, which had entered Iran’s eastern territory in order to carry out “spying missions.”

“After it entered the eastern parts of the country, this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed in Iran with minimum damage,” he said according to the semi-official FARS news agency.

“With God’s help, we were able to bring down one of America’s most advanced planes... with minimal damage,” Hajizadeh told state television, standing in front of the drone.

The Revolutionary Guards commander said that the drone was controlled from the ground in bases in Afghanistan and the United States.

Also during the meeting with Maliki, Obama acknowledged differences between Washington and Baghdad on how to deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad's government's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators but said Maliki was acting in Iraq's best interests.

Maliki raised concerns about the risk of sectarian violence in Syria spilling into neighboring Iraq and said he wanted the Syrian situation resolved peacefully.

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