Iran says repelled unidentified plane from its airspace

 

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

DUBAI | Fri Nov 9, 2012 1:44pm EST

(Reuters) – Iran repelled an unidentified aircraft violating its airspace, it said on Friday, after Washington reported a U.S. surveillance drone was shot at by Iranian warplanes last week.

Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi appeared to be referring to the U.S. drone which the Pentagon said had not entered Iranian territory. The incident has underlined the risk of U.S.-Iranian tensions escalating into a military clash.

“Last week an unidentified plane entered the airspace above the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf which, due to the timely, quick and decisive action of the Iranian Armed Forces, was forced to flee,” Iran’s state-run Press TV quoted Vahidi as saying.

Vahidi said Iran was investigating the incident and pursuing the case via international channels.

Iran’s Fars News Agency said the aircraft was “shooed away” by Iranian fighter jets, but it did not elaborate.

Earlier on Friday, General Massoud Jazayeri, a senior military commander, said Iranian forces were prepared to respond to any incursion by air, sea or land, without specifically mentioning the drone incident, Fars reported.

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

It was believed to be the first time that Tehran has fired at an unmanned U.S. aircraft in their 33-year stand-off.

Washington accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons capability and has not ruled out military action if it considers Tehran close to getting the bomb. Iran, which denies seeking atomic arms, is resuming talks with the U.N. nuclear agency in December.

 

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    Violation of Iran airspace, act of provocation by US: Analyst

     Press TV

    It is fairly obvious that it is another act of provocation that sends the wrong signal from Washington and I think that their own message is that the US continues to violate the airspace of Iran contrary to the international norms and rule of international law.”

    Iranian political analyst Kaveh Afrasiabi

    A political analyst has described the recent violation of Iran’s airspace by a US drone as an “act of provocation” and against the international law, Press TV reports.

    “It is fairly obvious that it is another act of provocation that sends the wrong signal from Washington and I think that their own message is that the US continues to violate the airspace of Iran contrary to the international norms and rule of international law,” Kaveh Afrasiabi said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday.

    Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Friday that the Iranian military has repelled an unidentified aircraft that had entered the country’s airspace “above the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic in the Persian Gulf.”

    The comments come a day after the Pentagon claimed that two Iranian warplanes fired at a US drone last week as it conducted a routine, but classified surveillance mission over the Persian Gulf about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast.

    Afrasiabi expressed hope that the swift reaction of the Iranian armed forces would send the message to Washington that “Iran is vigilant and is not like some other countries that allow the violation of their sovereignty all the time.”

    On Friday, Deputy Chairman of Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said the Iranian Armed Forces would “firmly” respond to any air, ground and sea aggression.

    MYA/SS/IS

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