'Technical problems, not Iran, downed drone'

US lawmaker denies Iran's claims that it brought down spy plane; downplays danger of Tehran "reverse-engineering" technology.

Hajizadeh and downed US drone_311 (photo credit: FARS)
Hajizadeh and downed US drone_311
(photo credit: FARS)
The US on Tuesday said that the American unmanned spy plane which fell into Iranian hands earlier this month went down because of "technical" problems, and was not brought down by the Iranians, as Tehran has claimed.
Iran announced on Dec. 4 it had downed the drone in the eastern part of the country, near Afghanistan. It has since shown the plane on television and said it is close to cracking its technological secrets.
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"I will say without hesitation that this is not something that anyone had anything to do with coming down with, other than a technical problem," US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers was quoted as saying by AFP.
Rogers stated that, while "it's not a good day for the United States" when a hostile nation obtains US technology, the threat of Iran "reverse-engineering" the technology and mass producing the drone, as it has promised, does not pose that great a threat to the US.
""The good news is, while they're spending time re-engineering, we will be spending time engineering, and that's the biggest difference," Rogers stated.
"They're very proud that they're going to re-engineer this, and I hope they spend five, six, seven, eight years doing that, that would be great, because we'll be long past that," he added.
US President Barack Obama said Monday that Washington had asked that the Iranians return the spy plane.
In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference, "It seems that (Obama) has forgotten that our air space was violated, a spying operation conducted and international law trampled."
"Instead of an official apology for the offense they have committed, he is raising such a demand. America must know that the violation of Iran's air space can endanger world peace and security," Mehmanparast added.
Reuters contributed to this report.