11242014Mon

Iran says US drone violated Iranian airspace

The Associated Press

By NASSER KARIMI

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's defense minister said Friday that a U.S. drone violated Iranian airspace a week ago when Pentagon says the pilotless aircraft came under fire. The U.S. maintains the drone was over international waters.

"Last week, an unknown aircraft entered Iran's airspace in the Persian Gulf," said Gen. Ahmad Vahidi. "It was forced to leave on time by a wise and strong reaction on the part of the Iranian armed forces."

Vahidi's remarks came a day after the Pentagon said an Iranian military plane fired on — at least twice — but did not hit, an unarmed U.S. drone a week ago. A Pentagon spokesman said the pilotless aircraft was in international airspace over the Persian Gulf and returned to base unharmed.

The shooting in the Gulf, which occurred just before 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Nov. 1, was unprecedented, though it marked the second incident involving a U.S. drone and Iran.

Last December, a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone equipped with stealth technology was captured in eastern Iran. Tehran claims it brought down the aircraft, but U.S. officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land.

Vahidi, the Iranian defense minister, was quoted Friday by the country's official IRNA news agency as saying last week's incident "proves that Iran monitors all moves (in the Gulf) and will apply necessary and strong action when needed."

His remarks followed those of Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Saleh Jokar who earlier Friday told state-owned yjc.ir news website that Iranian fighters shot at the U.S. drone because it had entered Iranian airspace.

"Violation of the airspace of Iran was the reason for shooting at the American drone," Jokar said. "This showed Iran has the necessary readiness to defend against any invasion."

Also, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Masoud Jazayeri, a senior general in the powerful Revolutionary Guard, as saying Iran would confront any "flying object" that entered its air space and would "strongly respond to any ground, sea or air invasion."

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Thursday that the U.S. drone was performing "routine surveillance" and was about 26 kilometers (16 miles) off the Iranian coast when an Iranian SU-25 warplane intercepted it and opened fire. He said it was the first time an unmanned U.S. aircraft was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf.

"Our aircraft was never in Iranian air space. It was always flying in international air space," Little told Pentagon reporters. He said the U.S. informed the Iranians that it would continue to conduct such surveillance flights in international airspace.

In the case of the Sentinel drone, after initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran's military and nuclear facilities. Washington asked for it back but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been high over Iran's suspect nuclear program. The U.S and its allies believe Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation and cancer treatment.

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE