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Iran 'Captured Drone' Reports Disputed by Military

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 24, 2013 Last Updated: February 24, 2013
Related articles: World » Middle East
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Iran captured drone: There are conflicting reports over whether Iran captured a drone during a military operation. State-run media in Iran first said that a “foreign spy drone” was hacked into, but the powerful Revolutionary Guards later said otherwise.

Iran captures drone: An Iranian boy holds a portrait of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali khamenei as he walks past a replica of the captured U.S. RQ-170 drone on display next to the Azadi tower during the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Tehran on Feb. 11, 2012. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran captures drone: An Iranian boy holds a portrait of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali khamenei as he walks past a replica of the captured U.S. RQ-170 drone on display next to the Azadi tower during the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Tehran on Feb. 11, 2012. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

There are conflicting reports over whether Iran captured a foreign spy drone during a military operation.

“A foreign spy drone” was hacked during the start of the Payambar-e Azam 8, or The Great Prophet 8, war games, General Hamid Sarkheili told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency on Saturday. Sarkheili said the hacking was part of the regime’s attempt to bolster the use of electronic warfare.

Sarkheili said, “For the first time, our special modern warfare task forces are conducting specialized operations,” adding that the movements of foreign spy drones were observed and controlled during the war games.

Sarkheili did not elaborate on whether the drone was operated by the United States. “In the other phases of the war games, the reconnaissance as well as suicide drones, which are capable of attacking the enemies, have been used and their operational capabilities came under assessment,” Sarkheili said.

During the war games, Iran “tested different asymmetric tactics and various types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs), including its suicide drones, as well as its special modern warfare units on the first day of the massive war games underway in Iran’s Southeastern province of Kerman,” the Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Over the past several years, Iran has claimed it captured several drones operated by the U.S. In early December 2012, state-run media published photos of a ScanEagle drone that was captured “after violating the country’s airspace,” Press TV said. A year earlier, Iran said it took over a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel after shooting it down over its airspace.

However, on Sunday, The Associated Press reported that the powerful Revolutionary Guards denied capturing a foreign drone during the military exercise. Yasin Hasanali, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guard, said the drone captured over the weekend was being used during the military exercise as a supposed enemy aircraft, without elaborating.

A Pentagon spokesman told the Guardian newspaper that he saw reports of the captured enemy drone, but stressed that the Iranians did not say if the drone was American.

The drone-capturing incidents underscore the tension between the U.S. and Iran—part of a diplomatic row over the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear program.

In January, Iran also said that several American RQ11 Raven drones were taken down by Iranian forces in August 2011 and November 2012, the Guardian reported.

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