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13:26 | 2012-11-12


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MP: Engagement with US Drone Shows Iranian Armed Forces' Power

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian lawmaker praised the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps's pilots for shooing away a US aircraft from the Iranian airspace earlier this month, and stressed that the incident displayed the Iranian military forces' might and power.

"The IRGC forces' warning shots to the US spy drone indicate the Armed Forces' might and power in defending the country and people," member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmayeel Kosari told FNA on Monday.

"When the country's territory is invaded by the western armies, it is the responsibility of the Islamic Iran's Armed Forces to defend the country powerfully and in this special case, the IRGC defended the Islamic Iran's interests mightily."

Pentagon claimed on Thursday that on November 1 Iranian warplanes fired at a US drone in international airspace but did not hit the aircraft.

Several Iranian officials have rejected the US allegations that the engagement had taken place in international airspace, saying the US drone had violated the Iranian airspace and it was given warning shots to stay away from Iranian airspace.

According to the timeline provided by the Pentagon, two Iranian SU-25 "Frogfoot" aircraft intercepted the American drone at about 4:50 a.m. EST (0850 GMT) as it conducted a routine, but classified, surveillance mission over Persian Gulf waters about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast.

Pentagon Spokesman George Little said the aircraft fired multiple rounds at the Predator drone and followed it for at least several miles as it moved farther away from Iranian airspace.

"We believe that they fired at least twice and made at least two passes," he said.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was quickly notified of the incident, as were members of Congress and the White House, Little added.

Later on Friday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi confirmed reports about Iran's confrontation with an enemy aircraft in the airspace over the Persian Gulf, saying that the aircraft was shooed away by Iranian fighter jets.

"Last week an unidentified aircraft entered the airspace over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, which was forced to flee due to the prompt, smart and decisive action of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed forces," Vahidi said in a statement released by the Iranian Defense Ministry on Friday.

He stressed that the incident and similar events in the past all indicate that "the Islamic Republic of Iran is vigilantly and precisely monitoring all moves and provides decisive, necessary and prompt response with efficient power" to any hostile move.

The Iranian defense minister further stated that Iran is pursuing the case at relevant international bodies using all available capacities.