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U.S. denies Iran captured drone

Dec. 4, 2012 at 6:17 AM   |   Comments

TEHRAN, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The United States denied Iranian claims that it had captured an American drone, saying all its aircraft are accounted for, a U.S. Navy spokesman said.

The statement came shortly after Iranian media outlets said a U.S. drone had been captured after it entered Iranian airspace.

"The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles operating in the Middle East region. We have no record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently," a statement from U.S. Central Command in Bahrain said.

Iranian Adm. Ali Fadavi, commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps naval forces, said the ScanEagle drone had been on a reconnaissance mission over the Persian Gulf when it violated Iran's airspace.

The drone "is usually launched from large aircraft carriers," Press TV quoted him saying. The drone was allegedly "spying over southern Iran," the report said.

Images of Fadavi inspecting what appeared to be a ScanEagle were broadcast and the drone displayed in front of a large map of the Persian Gulf -- text in English and Persian said, "We will trample the U.S. under our feet."

Iran said it viewed the incident as a violation of its territory and intends to file a complaint with the United Nations, the television report said.

Press TV noted it would be the second U.S. drone caught by Iran in the past year. In December 2011 the Iranian air force downed an American RQ-170 Sentinel drone caught "spying on Iranian territory."

Iranian warplanes fired at a Predator drone flying over the Persian Gulf last month. U.S. officials said the aircraft was in international airspace.

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