Iranian experts are decoding the intelligence devices of what it says is an Israeli spy drone that was shot down over central Iran on Sunday, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps announced Sunday night.
The corps' aerospace force shot down the drone before it could reach the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, according to Iran. Israeli officials have declined to comment whether or not Israel lost a drone over Iran.
Some of the allegedly downed aircraft's parts are working, "and our experts are studying the information and intelligence of these parts," General Ramezan Sharif, director of the corps' public relations department, told the semi-official Fars News Agency. "We are now analyzing the information of this plane."
Iran released video footage of the what it claims to be an Israeli spy plane Monday morning on the Al Alam news website. It asserts the drone belongs to the Hermes class of unamanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Iranian officials described the UAV as a radar-evading, stealth drone with the mission to spy on Iran's enrichment activities by flying over Natanz nuclear enrichment plant.
The images published by the Al-Alam television station on Monday depict huge chunks of an aerial vehicle – mainly the central part of the body. The pictures show that the central body is the typical shape of a real UAV. Moreover, the body looks like it was built from sophisticated material, the kind that military industries worldwide use to construct UAVs.
The Iranian report did not include further details about when it shot down the drone or why it is convinced the UAV originated from Israel. The Iranian statement did assert that the UAV included a stealth, radar-evasive system.
Iranian officials blamed Israel of making a malicious move that stirs war. The Iranian corps warned that it "preserves the right of response and retaliation for itself."
While a senior Israel Air Force officer declined to comment on the Iranian report, a specialist in arms and aerial vehicles told Haaretz, after looking at the images, that the device looks like a kind of UAV used by the Israeli military.
Iran's cyberwarfare unit downed a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle in December 2011. The U.S. initially denied the incident but eventually acknowledged the loss. Iran claims it has been able to reverse engineer the drone, and will soon launch its home-made version of the RQ-170 in the near future.
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