Iran issues warning after targeting U.S. drone

DUBAI Fri Nov 9, 2012 12:23pm GMT

A MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft in an undated photo. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force

A MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft in an undated photo.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Air Force

Related Topics

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said it would deal decisively with any foreign encroachment into its airspace, an apparent warning to the United States after one of its surveillance drones was targeted by Iranian warplanes last week.

On Thursday U.S. officials said the unarmed Predator drone was in international airspace when Iranian warplanes opened fire on it on November 1. The aircraft was not hit.

The intercept was the first time Tehran had fired at an unmanned U.S. aircraft in their 33 year stand-off.

"The defenders of the Islamic Republic will respond decisively to any form of encroachment by air, sea or on the ground," Fars news agency quoted General Massoud Jazayeri, a senior armed forces commander, as saying on Friday.

"If any foreign aircraft attempts to enter our airspace our armed forces will deal with them," he said. Jazayeri did not mention the drone incident specifically.

According to the Pentagon, two Soviet-designed SU-25 aircraft intercepted the Predator drone over Gulf waters about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast. After firing at the drone they followed it for several miles as it moved farther away from Iranian airspace.

Washington has issued a formal protest to the Iranian authorities via diplomatic channels.

Details of the incident emerged ahead of large-scale air defence drills due to start across several provinces in eastern Iran this week.

The "Velayat 4" manoeuvres will be jointly held by the regular armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and will involve testing new radar and surveillance equipment, military commanders say.

(Reporting By Marcus George; Editing by Jon Boyle)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (10)
Robbedoes wrote:
If you can’t down a predator (photo) with a pair of frogfoots, this can only qualify as pure incompetence. Assuming basic competence on the side of Iranian pilots, this is just part of Iranian politics.

What is more interesting is the downing of the far more sophisticates RQ-170 Sentinel some time ago over Iranian soil. Assuming the US explanation of malfunctioning of the drone over Afghan soil is BS, apparently the Iranians are able to either effectively jam the datalink and/or damage the onboard electronics (microwave weapons?) rendering drones useless against enemies with more than a simple AK as weaponry (sounds a bit like the downing of the F117 by the Serbs in 1999 .. with a similar transfer of technology to Iran, N. Korea and China). So much for drones .. back to piloted aircraft?

Nov 09, 2012 7:13am GMT  --  Report as abuse
Wvandamme wrote:
If the drone was intercepting Iranian communications then it was an act of war by the US, even if the drone was in so-called international waters. The US should start respecting international law and this includes the sovereignty of nations.

Nov 09, 2012 8:37am GMT  --  Report as abuse
Spinner wrote:
Mr van Damme. International waters means exactly that – International waters. Provided no physical damage is done to any country by actions within international waters, not only is there no act of aggression, but what is being done is of no business whatsoever to any country adjacent to those international waters.

So the USA had every right to be flying their drone up and down the Persian Gulf, whether or not it was gathering intelligence, or just there to be a thorn in the side of the Iranian defences, ensuring that they spend time and effort playing at their little war games.

And it worked. It drew out the fierce fighting forces of Iran. But alas. They don’t appear to be as fierce as some might have thought they were. That they could not even shoot down a slow flying propeller driven drone aircraft with fixed landing gear says it all.

Perhaps Ahmedinajad should issue them with slingshots next time. They certainly couldn’t do any worse.

And another tip for the Iranian government. Before you waste too much more money on a nuclear weapon, which by the way, will be destroyed before it could possibly be completed, perhaps you should pay some attention to the obviously total ineptitude of your air force.

And Mr van Damme. That is quite likely the extent of what the USA was doing with that drone. Finding out just how sharp the Iranian air force and ground batteries really are. And they found out. Not very sharp at all.

Nov 09, 2012 9:45am GMT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.