On Thursday, TheBlaze reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces fired on a U.S. drone on November 1 — a story that was not released to the public until after the presidential election. Now, an Iranian news agency is combating the original details of the incident, claiming that the drone violated Iran’s airspace before it was fired upon.
This is, of course, radically different from the account that the Pentagon gave this week. U.S. officials have maintained that the drone was not, in fact, in Iranian airspace when the incident unfolded.
The semiofficial FARS agency on Friday carried quotes from a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as saying that following the Pentagon claim, Iran would confront any “flying object” that entered its air space. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri said Iranian forces would respond strongly to any ground, sea or air “invasion.”
As stated, the story first emerged yesterday when the Pentagon said an Iranian military plane fired on, but did not hit, an unarmed U.S. drone aircraft last week. Pentagon spokesman George Little said the drone was in international airspace over the Persian Gulf. The unmanned unit, which was conducting what Little called “routine maintenance” at the time, was “intercepted.”
“The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf consistent with longstanding practice and our commitment to the security of the region,” Little said in a Pentagon briefing. “We have a wide range of options from diplomatic to military to protect our military assets and our forces…and will do so when necessary.”
Initially, the Obama administration did not disclose the information to the public — an act that some may question, especially considering the proximity of the event to the 2012 presidential election.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been high over Iran’s suspect nuclear program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.