US asks Iran to return its surveillance drone

The US has asked Iran to return the drone that Tehran says was brought down while it was flying over its territory.

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2011, 10:14 AM IST

Washington: The US has asked Iran to return
the drone that Tehran says was brought down while it was flying over its territory, but expressed doubt the country would do so.

"You know, we submitted a formal request for the return of our lost equipment, as we would in any situation to any government around the world," Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said.

Given Iran`s behaviour to date, we do not expect them to
comply," Clinton said.

"But we are dealing with all of these provocations and
concerning actions taken by Iran in close concert with our
closest allies and partners, starting with the UK," Clinton
said.

Tehran has already said that it will not return the drone, which is said to be of a very sensitive nature.
Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama said, "As
has already been indicated, we have asked for it (drone) back.
We`ll see how the Iranians respond," Obama told reporters at a
joint news conference with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki.

However, Obama refused to comment on the impact of this
drone in Iran on America`s security interest.

"With respect to the drone inside of Iran, I`m not going
to comment on intelligence matters that are classified," he
said.

It was the first open confirmation by the US that the drone was in Iranian hands.
Are you concerned that it will be able to weaken America`s
national security by discovering intelligence from the fallen
drone that it captured?" Obama was asked at the news
conference.

Meanwhile, the US said Iran is fearful of ideas to its
people, which is indicated in the fact that it has blocked the
Virtual Embassy Tehran. The Virtual Embassy Tehran was
launched by the State Department last week in its attempt to
reach out to the people of Iran directly.

PTI