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Iran Claims It Captured Drone, U.S. Denies It

Published: December 5, 2012 (Issue # 1738)


TEHRAN, Iran Iran claimed Tuesday it had captured a U.S. drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf even showing an image of a purportedly downed craft on state TV but the U.S. Navy said all its unmanned aircraft in the region were fully accounted for.

The conflicting accounts still leave the possibility that the drone claimed by Iran, a Boeing-designed ScanEagle, could have been plucked from the sea in the past and unveiled for maximum effect following escalating tensions over U.S. surveillance missions in the Gulf.

Other countries in the region such as the United Arab Emirates also have ScanEagle drones in their fleets.

Commander Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navys 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said ScanEagles operated by the Navy have been lost into the water over the years, but there is no record of that occurring most recently.

The Iranian announcement did not give details on the time or location of the claimed drone capture.

Its certain, however, to be portrayed by Tehran as another bold challenge to U.S. reconnaissance efforts in the region. Last month, the Pentagon said a drone came under Iranian fire in the Gulf but was not harmed. A year ago, Iran managed to bring down an unmanned CIA spy drone possibly coming from Afghanistan.

Iran also has recently alleged repeated airspace violations by U.S. drones, which Washington denies.

The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles operating in the Middle East region, said Salata. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized waters and airspace.

Iran claimed it captured the drone after it entered Iranian airspace. A report on state TV quoted the navy chief of Irans powerful Revolutionary Guard, General Ali Fadavi, as saying the Iranian forces caught the intruding drone, which had apparently taken off from a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The U.S. drone, which was conducting a reconnaissance flight and gathering data over the Persian Gulf in the past few days, was captured by the Guards navy air defense unit as soon as it entered Iranian airspace, Fadavi said. Such drones usually take off from large warships.

Al-Alam, the Iranian state TVs Arabic-language channel, showed two Guard commanders examining what appeared to be an intact ScanEagle drone. It was not immediately clear if that was the same drone Iran claimed to have captured.

In the footage, the two men then point to a huge map of the Persian Gulf in the background, showing the drones alleged path of entry into Iranian airspace.

We shall trample on the U.S., was printed over the map in Farsi and English next to the Guards emblem.

If true, the seizure of the drone would be the third reported incident involving Iran and U.S. drones in the past two years.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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