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Checkpoint Washington
Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 01/17/2012

U.S. drone that crashed in Iran goes miniature


A photo released by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps purports to show the RQ-170 drone that was reported crash in December. (Sepahnews via Associated Press)
TEHRAN — For the American government, the crash of the RQ-170 drone in Iran was an embarrassment. For the Iranian government, it was a propaganda victory.

And for at least one company, according to state radio, it could be a windfall.

An Iranian firm, seeking to capitalize on the frenzy that followed the crash of the drone — and American calls to have it returned — is now producing miniaturized toy versions of the craft. Most of the toys, which come in several colors and are made of Iranian plastic, have already been snapped up by Iranian government organizations, according to the group that manufactures them.

At least one model — a pink one — has been reserved for President Obama.

“He said he wanted it back, and we will send him one,” said Reza Kioumarsi, the head of cultural production at the Ayeh Art group.

 Ayeh Art group designs “cultural products” — mugs with verses of the Koran printed on them, for instance, and small buttons picturing mosques. This month, the firm began producing a 1:80 scaled model of the RQ-170, the sophisticated drone that was being operated by the CIA when it crashed in eastern Iran. The firm is now making 2,000 of them a day.

“This is not made in China,” Kioumarsi stressed.

The toys come with a transparent plastic stand emblazoned with a quotation from Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic: “We will put America under our feet.”

The products made by Ayeh Art Group are not widely known in Tehran, but Kioumarsi said he was confident that the model drones would sell like hotcakes.

The Iranian government, meantime, has shown no indication that it will be returning the real RQ-170 to the United States. Last week, the Foreign Ministry demanded an apology first.

More national security coverage:

- Jordan’s king sees glimmer of hope in Mideast talks

- ‘A new normal’ for U.S., Pakistan

- Marines questioned in connection with video

- Read more national security headlines

By  |  11:50 AM ET, 01/17/2012

 
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