Tehran: Iran`s Revolutionary Guard denied
on Friday that it shot down an unmanned US spy plane over a
uranium enrichment site, saying that its air defenses had only
hit a test target.
The statement carried on the official IRNA news agency
was in response to a claim earlier this week by Iranian
lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari, who said the US drone was shot
down as it was flying over the Fordo facility near the holy
city of Qom in central Iran.
He claimed that the drone was trying to gather
information on the underground site.
"What caused the spread of the news was related to the
hitting of a test air target by the Guard`s air defense unit
in the general region of Qom province," IRNA quoted the
statement as saying.
The Guard, the country`s most powerful military force,
claimed that US spy planes are unable to penetrate Iran`s air
Iran is locked in a dispute with the US and its allies
over Tehran`s disputed atomic programme, which the West
believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies
the accusations, saying its nuclear programme is aimed at
generating electricity and producing isotopes to treat medical
Long kept secret, the Fordo site is built next to a
military complex to protect it in case of attack. Iran only
acknowledged Fordo`s existence after Western intelligence
agencies identified it in September 2009. The facility is
reportedly located 295 feet (90 metres) beneath a mountain.
Iran says it is planning to install advanced
centrifuges at Fordo to speed up its nuclear activities.
Iran is under UN sanctions over its refusal to halt
uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce
nuclear fuel or atomic weapons.
Iran has claimed to shoot down US spy planes in the
past. Earlier this month, Iranian military officials showed
Russian experts several US drones they said were shot down in