Tehran: A senior Iranian military official has warned that Tehran would hunt down more US surveillance drones if America continues to ‘violate its air space’.
Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Iran's former defence minister, said Iran would not remain inactive to future incursions by foreign surveillance drones.
“If US spy planes continue their aggression, we won't be idle. We will continue to hunt down their spy planes,” a TV channel quoted him, as saying.
The comments came in response to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks that the United States will continue to conduct intelligence operations such as the one that led to the loss of its RQ-170 Sentinel over Iran.
Shamkhani claimed the fact that Iran brought down the pilotless surveillance aircraft nearly intact proves his nation's technological prowess.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran's capture of this spy drone shows the high capabilities of our armed forces,” he said.
Iran has claimed that its armed forces brought down the US spy drone after it was detected flying over the eastern town of Kashmar, some 140 miles from the Afghan border.
American officials, however, said that US intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. They contend the drone malfunctioned.
First Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 14:05