[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Drone 'shot down' in Iran may belong to US
NATO-led military force in Afghanistan says the unmanned aerial vehicle had gone out of control late last week.
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2011 04:01
Iran's Fars news agency said the drone had been brought down after it violated the country's airspace [Fars website]

A surveillance drone flying over western Afghanistan had gone out of control late last week and may be the one Iran said it had shot down over its own airspace, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has said.

"The UAV 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," an ISAF statement said on Sunday.
 
The statement was issued in Kabul and released to reporters covering an international conference on Afghanistan in the German city Bonn.

A US official told the Reuters news agency that there is "absolutely no indication" up to this point that the drone that crashed in Iran was shot down.

Iranian media reported on Sunday that its forces had brought down an unmanned US spy plane.
 
"Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran," Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted an unnamed source as saying on Sunday.
 
The state news agency IRNA and the semi-official Fars news agency reported that the plane is now in the possession of Iran's armed forces. The Fars news agency is close to the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Fars reported that the drone had been brought down through a combined effort by Iran's armed forces, air defence forces and its electronic warfare unit after the plane briefly violated the country's airspace at its eastern border.

The drone "was downed with slight damage. It is now under the control of our forces," Fars reported, quoting an unnamed military source.

The source warned that Iran's armed response would "not be limited to our country's borders" for the "blatant territorial violation".

Al Alam state television network reported the same news on Sunday.

Other 'downed drones'

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, told Al Jazeera that Iran has made similar claims even as recently as July.

"It could be quite feasible but we don’t know yet. What we do know is that in the absence of any diplomatic channels, incidents like this can have tremendous repercussions. Far greater then when there were some de-escalatory mechanisms in place between the United States and Iran."

In January, Iran also announced that its forces had downed two US drones after they violated Iranian-controlled airspace.

It said it would put the aircraft on display to the public, but there has been no indication it ever did so.

In June, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards' aerospace unit, said Iran had shown Russian experts the US drones in its possession.

"Russian experts requested to see these drones and they looked at both the downed drones and the models made by the Guards through reverse engineering," he said.

Hajizadeh did not specify how many US drones were shown nor gave any details of the copies Iran was said to have made of the aircraft.

The US military and the CIA routinely use drones to monitor military activity in the region.

They have also reportedly used them to launch missile strikes in Yemen as well as in Afghanistan and in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.

Iran holds frequent military drills, primarily to assert an ability to defend against a potential US or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities.

Iran is locked in a dispute with the US and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, which the West believes is aimed at the development of nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its programme is entirely peaceful.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.