Iran implicitly confirms attack on US drone
Iran has confirmed a Pentagon report that two Iranian warplanes fired on an unarmed U.S. drone in the Persian Gulf last week.
Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted on the Iranian Students’ News Organization website as saying that Iran’s armed forces took action against an anonymous plane that entered the country’s airspace – countering the Pentagon’s contention that the U.S. aircraft was over international waters.
Iran also vowed to confront any other aircraft that enters its airspace. According to FARS news agency, Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Massoud Jazayeri said Iran would “give a decisive response to any aerial, ground or sea aggression.”
US pondering response
Pentagon spokesman George Little said that the unmanned Predator was outside Iranian waters on a routine classified surveillance mission on November 1 when an Iranian military plane fired at, and missed, the drone.
Little says the United States informed Iran that it is prepared to safeguard its forces and will continue surveillance operations over the Persian Gulf in line with the U.S. commitment to security in the region. He said the U.S. is not ruling out either a military or diplomatic response.
Though the U.S. routinely conducts surveillance missions over to Iran to check on nuclear facilities and other sites, the Pentagon says this is the first time Iran has fired on one of its drones. Iran says it shot down an American unmanned aerial vehicle last year over Iranian territory. U.S. officials say that aircraft landed unintentionally.
The Pentagon usually does not comment on classified missions. Little said the report of the attack on the drone was leaked.