Report: Iran shoots down U.S. reconnaissance drone
Iranian media reports U.S. spy plane that violated airspace along the eastern border was shot down and is in possession of Iranian troops.
Iran's military shot down a U.S. reconnaissance drone aircraft in eastern Iran, a military source told state television on Sunday.
"Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran," Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted the unnamed source as saying.
Iran is locked in a dispute with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at the development of nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
Iran said in January that two pilotless spy planes it had shot down over its airspace were operated by the United States and offered to put them on public display.
The Islamic Republic holds frequent military drills, primarily to assert an ability to defend against a potential U.S.¬ or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities.
Tehran has focused part of its military strategy on producing drones for reconnaissance and attacking purposes.
Iran announced three years ago it had built an unmanned aircraft with a range of more than 1,000 kilometers, far enough to reach Israel.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled Iran's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft in August 2010, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.
On Saturday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Iran is getting closer to developing a nuclear bomb, and that new and more crippling sanctions should be imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Speaking on "Meet the Press," a Channel 2 program, Barak denied however that the latest blasts that occurred in Iran mark the beginning of a military campaign. Barak said actions against Iran are being carried out in the diplomatic sphere, through sanctions and through the activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). When asked if a clandestine war against Iran has already begun, he replied: "I think the answer to that is no."
Read this article in Hebrew: איראן טוענת: הפלנו מל"ט אמריקאי חמקן
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