Tehran has claimed it captured a US spy drone in the Persian Gulf after the unmanned aircraft entered Iranian airspace, Iran’s Press TV reported. The US Navy denied the claim, saying that none of its drones in the Gulf region were lost.
However, Iranian media even showed the video footage of the ScanEagle, claiming it was that very flying object Iran captured.
It is not the first time that US drones have been brought down in Iran. Tehran earlier reported about at least dozens of instances of American spy drones shut down since the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The drone may be an unarmed surveillance aircraft, but according to international law, violation of a sovereign state air space constitutes an act of war and can be referred to the UN Security Council,” Press TV earlier reported.
The drone was identified as a US-made ScanEagle that was allegedly gathering intelligence on Iran, which was detected after flying over the Persian Gulf for the past two days.
The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Navy captured the drone after the aircraft violated Iranian airspace, naval chief Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said.
“Such drones are usually sent [on a] mission from large warships,” Fadavi told Fars news agency.
The ScanEagle is manufactured by Boeing, and is four feet long with a 10-foot (3-meter) wingspan.
The US has reportedly increased its number of spy drone missions into Iran over the past two months on concerns over Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Wall Street Journal said.
The US has stepped up its use of state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) capable of recording multiple media formats from thousands of feet in the air.
In a November 19 letter sent from Tehran and made available to the Journal, Iranian leaders appealed to the United Nations to complain about Washington’s drone spying.
Amid these concerns, a US drone was detected near the Iranian city of Bushehr, and was tailed by Iranian fighter jets who attempted to shoot down the aircraft.
And 11 months earlier, a spy drone operated by the US was intercepted mid-flight by Iran and grounded. Iranian engineers then allegedly dismantled and reverse-engineered the UAV.
Iran later said that the drone was top-secret and equipped with stealth technology, and that Tehran had begun building its own version.
The US originally denied they lost a drone over Iran before changing their story and insisting that they lost contact with the craft during a surveillance mission over neighboring Afghanistan.