Tehran: After Iranian state TV showed the captured US drone, on Wednesday Iran`s Revolutionary Guards spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif asked the Americans to accurately count their drones.
Iranian military had earlier claimed that they got hold of an American drone called ScanEagle over Gulf waters.
Earlier Iran’s claims were rebutted as a US Navy spokesperson had said on Tuesday that all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region were fully accounted for and that no aircraft was lost over Gulf.
ScanEagle is a small, low-cost, but long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle used by the US Navy.
The BBC quoted Iranian military’s Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, saying to Fars news agency, that the drone was caught after conducting many reconnaissance sorties.
Rear Adm Fadavi said that "such drones are usually launched from large warships".
Last month, Iran claimed that a US drone had violated its airspace. Pentagon said the unmanned aircraft came under fire — at least twice but was not hit — and that the Predator was over international waters.
The Nov. 1 shooting in the Gulf was unprecedented, and further escalated tensions between the United States and Iran, which is under international sanctions over its suspect nuclear program. Tehran denies it`s pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its program is for peaceful purposes only.
In 2011, Iran claimed it brought down a CIA spy drone after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which is equipped with stealth technology, was captured almost intact. Tehran later said it recovered data from the top-secret drone.
In the case of the Sentinel, after initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran`s military and nuclear facilities. Washington asked for it back but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.
Iran`s claim to have captured this US drone comes just a day after it was reported that the US intelligence had stepped up spying on Iran`s Bushehr nuclear plant.
The US and West in general, suspect that Iran is pursuing its nuclear weapon`s ambitions in the guise of a peaceful atomic energy development programme, while Iran has been reiterating that its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes.
With Agency Inputs