US official says no sign Iran shot down drone

NATO`s US-led mission in neighbouring Afghanistan said the Iranian report could refer to an unarmed US spy drone that went missing there last week.

Updated: Dec 05, 2011, 10:19 AM IST

Tehran: Iranian media reported on Sunday that their country`s military had shot down a US reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran, but a US official said there was no indication the aircraft had been shot down.

NATO`s US-led mission in neighbouring Afghanistan said the Iranian report could refer to an unarmed US spy drone that went missing there last week.

The incident comes at a time when Tehran is trying to contain foreign outrage at the storming of the British embassy on Tuesday, after London announced sanctions on Iran`s central bank in connection with Iran`s nuclear enrichment programme.

Iran has announced several times in the past that it shot down US, Israeli or British drones, in incidents that did not provoke high-profile responses.

"Iran`s military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran," Iran`s Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted a military source as saying.

"The spy drone, which has been downed with little damage, was seized by the Iranian armed forces," the source said. "The Iranian military`s response to the American spy drone`s violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran`s borders."

Iranian officials were not available to comment further.

NATO`s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said in a statement: "The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week.

"The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."

A US official, who asked not to be named, said: "There is absolutely no indication up to this point that Iranians shot down this drone."

Bureau Report