(Watch the video below.)
Iranian state television aired footage of what newscasters said was a U.S. drone brought down in Iran last week.
Iranian state television used its main newscast to unveil the drone. The drone was shown in a video on an undisclosed location where two men in military fatigues could be seen walking around it. The belly of the plane was covered with posters saying, “We’ll trample America underfoot.”
Speaking to reporters at the White House, President Obama said Thursday that Iran is more isolated now than ever, and he called on Iranian leaders to forswear nuclear weapons if they want to end their isolation. He made the remarks in response to a question about Iran, but he was not asked specifically about the downing of the U.S. drone.
The Associated Press reports that a former U.S. official confirmed to the news agency that the drone seen in the video was the U.S. drone lost over Iran and reported missing by American military in Afghanistan.
As shown on Iranian television, the left wing of the aircraft seemed broken and mended, and the drone had a beige color, different from the ones shown in stock footage. It also seemed smaller.
“They wanted to spy on Iran, but it has turned against them,” said a news presenter. “Iran’s wisdom is keeping the Americans awake at night.”
According to the semiofficial Fars News Agency, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh recently announced that his forces had obtained information that spy planes were active over Iran.
“After entering the country’s eastern space, the plane was caught in an electronic ambush by the armed forces, and it was brought down on the land with the minimum damage,” Hajizadeh was quoted as saying.
He added the length of the wings of this plane is about 26 meters, the length of its body is 4.5 meters, its height is 1.84 meters, and it is equipped with advanced systems for gathering electronic, visual and telecommunication information and possesses various radar systems.
“This action has boosted Iranian national morale,” said Saadullah Zareie, a political analyst writing for Iran’s most conservative paper, Kayhan. After the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in 2010 and the U.S. disclosure in October of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, the capture of a U.S. spy plane was a great success, he said.
“Now the West will realize that confronting Iran is not so easy,” Zareie said. “And those who advise Obama to attack Iran clearly do not know what they are talking about.”
The drone is said to be an RQ-170, one of the more sensitive surveillance platforms in the CIA’s fleet. RQ-170 drones have been used in stealth missions into other nations’ airspace, including the months of surveillance of the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding when he was killed in a U.S. raid in May.
In his remarks on Iran at the White House on Thursday, Obama reiterated that all options are on the table in dealing with Iran, but he declined to specify them. “No options off the table means I’m considering all options,” he said.
He said his administration came into office with the world divided on Iran and since then has “systematically imposed” tough sanctions on the country. “Today Iran is isolated, and the world is unified in applying the toughest sanctions that Iran has ever experienced,” he said, adding that the sanctions are “having an impact” inside Iran.
“Iran understands that they have a choice,” Obama said. “They can break that isolation by acting responsibly and forswearing the development of nuclear weapons . . . or they can continue to operate in a fashion that isolates them from the entire world.” If Iran is pursuing nuclear arms, Obama said, “that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States” and of American allies including Israel. “And we are going to work with the world community to prevent that.”
On Monday, U.S. officials said an unmanned surveillance plane had been lost in Iran and was being used for secret missions by the CIA.
Watch the broadcast here:
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