Iran confirms clash with US drone, claims it was in Iranian airspace (+video)
The US says the drone was flying in international airspace; last year, a CIA stealth drone was brought down deep inside Iran. The aerial confrontation comes as more nuclear talks loom.
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Among a host of other issues, the US Navy attempted to prove to Congress – using altered maps – that the USS Vincennes was in international waters at the time, when it was in fact inside Iranian waters, in violation of international law.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Drones: America's unmanned Predators
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In the Predator incident, CNN reported on Thursday that onboard still and video cameras recorded the incident, along with, presumably, its precise coordinates.
The drone incident last week comes as Iran has been targeted by a covert war in recent years, which has included assassinations of a number of scientists linked to its nuclear program, a host of unexplained explosions at facilities, espionage, and the use of computer viruses to disrupt uranium enrichment efforts.
Iran blames the US and Israel for the killings and other events.
The US, in turn, accuses the Revolutionary Guard Qods Force of engineering a plot to kill the Saudi Arabia ambassador, using an Iranian-American car salesman as a go between with Mexican drug cartel hit men. Mansour Arbabsiar pleaded guilty at the New York federal court last month, and faces 25 years in prison.
The upcoming Iranian maneuver is the latest of a series of large-scale Iranian war games in the past year, meant to deter a US or Israeli attack. Iranian commanders said "various long-range radars and electronic surveillance systems will be tested during the drill," PressTV reported.
"We have communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf consistent with longstanding practice," said Little, using a term for the Persian Gulf at odds with most maps and frequently contested by Iran.
The Predator incident was made public as both sides jockeyed before an expected resumption of nuclear talks later this month.
Senior US and Iranian officials are reported to have met secretly in Qatar in October. After President Obama's reelection, Iranian officials sent mixed messages, castigating US sanctions policies toward Iran while also saying direct talks were "not taboo."
Washington sent its own message on Thursday by imposing further sanctions on individuals and entities in Iran. One target was Iran's censorship apparatus and Minister of Communications Reza Taghipour, for ordering the jamming of foreign satellite broadcasts.
The American measures aimed to "draw the world's attention to the scope of the regime's insidious actions, which oppress its own people and violate Iran's own laws" and have sought to create "an 'electronic curtain' to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world," the US State Department said in a statement.
Follow Scott Peterson on Twitter at @peterson__scott