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News number: 9107118524

18:41 | 2012-11-11

Defence

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IRGC Commander Praises Iranian Fighter Jets' Engagement with US Drone

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari praised the IRGC fighter jets which made a US aircraft leave Iranian airspace earlier this month, and stressed that similar responses will be given to any enemy aircraft violating the Iranian airspace.



"An enemy drone had entered the FIR (Flight Information Region) in the Persian Gulf, which is a no fly zone, deliberately or by mistake, and the Islamic Republic air defense systems and the IRGC fighter jets which were tasked with encountering the enemy aircraft acted upon their duty," Jafari said, pointing to the Thursday reports that Iranian fighter jets have opened fire on a US drone over the Persian Gulf earlier this month.

"And if the incident happens ever again, a similar move will be made by Iran," the IRGC top commander cautioned.

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.

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.

Political analysts believe that if the story proves to be true, it seems that the Iranian fighters intended to just shoo away the American predator.

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.