Iraninan state television displayed what it said was a downed U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday, days after U.S. officials expressed concern that Tehran would be able to glean information about a classified military program.
According to the semi-official Fars news agency, in the televised segment, commander of the Revolutionary Guard's Aerospace Forces Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that Iranian forces uncovered the aircraft as it was about "to infiltrate our country's airspace for spying missions."
"[A]fter it entered the Eastern parts of the country, this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed in Iran with minimum damage," Hajizadeh told Fars.
According to the Iraninan military official, the drone was "equipped with highly advanced surveillance, data gathering, electronic communication and radar systems," saying that "this kind of plane has been designed to evade radar systems and from the view point of technology it is amongst the most recent types of advanced aircraft used by the U.S."
"The technology used in this aircraft had already been used in B2 and F35 planes," Hajizadeh added, saying the "aircraft is controlled and guided through satellite link and land stations in Afghanistan and the United States."
"Military experts are well aware how precious the technological information of this drone is," Fars quoted Hajizadeh as saying.
The RQ-170 has been used in Afghanistan for several years. U.S. officials acknowledge that the military lost control of one of the stealthy drones while it was flying a mission over western Afghanistan. The official IRNA news agency has said that Iran’s armed forces shot it down.
On Monday, U.S. military officials said that they were concerned that a stealthy surveillance drone that crashed in Iran could give Tehran the opportunity to glean information about the classified program.
But experts said Monday that even if the Iranians found parts of the unmanned spy plane, they will likely get little from it. And since it probably fell from a high altitude, there may be very few large pieces to examine.
U.S. officials have rejected that claim.
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Read this article in Hebrew: איראן טוענת: זה המל"ט שהופל
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