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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

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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