The US is denying an Iranian claim that it captured an American drone that entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf.
Iran’s Fars news agency reported that the ScanEagle drone was captured by the naval unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,according to Reuters.
The agency said the drone had been captured sometime “in the last few days” but offered no details on how or where.
But a spokesperson for the US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain denied that Iran captured a drone, saying none were missing,reports NBC News.
“The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space,” the spokesman said. “We have no record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently.”
According to the Associated Press, the Iranian report quoted the Guard’s navy chief, Gen. Ali Fadavi, as saying the “intruding” drone had apparently taken off from a US aircraft carrier.
“The U.S. drone, which was conducting a reconnaissance flight and gathering data over the Persian Gulf in the past few days, was captured by the Guard’s navy air defense unit as soon as it entered Iranian airspace. Such drones usually take off from large warships.”
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, had not yet commentes, the AP wrote.
ScanEagles are manufactured by Boeing and according to the company’s website is four feet long with a 10-foot wingspan.
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Iran announced last December that its army had shot down a CIA-operated drone that crossed into its airspace.
And in early November, the US said Iranian warplanes shot at a US surveillance drone flying in international airspace after it entered the Islamic Republic’s airspace.
It added that it would respond “decisively” to any foreign encroachments into its airspace.
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Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations has also written to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to complain about repeated USviolations of Iranian airspace, Reuters wrote.
Khazaee claimed that the the “illegal and provocative acts” took place seven times in October around Bushehr, where Iran’s nuclear power station is located.
This story was originally published by Global Post.
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