WASHINGTON — Iran’s military shot down an unmanned
American drone over its eastern territory, the official Islamic Republic
News Agency reported Sunday.
“The spy drone,
which has been downed with little damage, was seized by the Iranian
armed forces,” Al Alam, Iran’s state television network, quoted an
unidentified Iranian military source as saying. Iran called the
incident a “violation of our airspace” and vowed an aggressive response.
U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
appeared to confirm that a drone had crashed in eastern Iran, saying
that the aircraft Iranian media were referring to “may be a U.S. unarmed
reconnaissance aircraft” that had been sent on a mission over western
Afghanistan late last week and been lost. But it didn’t comment on
Iranian claims that it had been shot down.
operators of the (drone) lost control of the aircraft and had been
working to determine its status,” said a statement from coalition forces
Pentagon officials had no immediate
comment. Iran has previously announced that it shot down U.S. and
Israeli drones in incidents that didn’t lead to a significant response.
downed drone was an American-built RQ-170 Sentinel equipped with
stealth technology, and had crossed into Iranian airspace from
Afghanistan, an Iranian military official told IRNA.
incident comes at a time of rising tension with Iran over its nuclear
enrichment program. Tehran insists that the program will be only for
domestic use, but Western nations and Israel, in particular, remain
highly skeptical and worry that the true purpose is to develop nuclear
Iran has been under heavy international
criticism in recent days over the storming of the British Embassy in
Tehran last week by Iranians protesting new British sanctions against
its central bank. Britain evacuated the embassy and expelled Iranian
diplomats from London.
©2011 the McClatchy Washington Bureau
Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services