Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi has said his country will take legal action against the U.S. at international courts over its “drone incursion” into the Islamic republic’s airspace in the Persian Gulf, Press TV reported.
On Tuesday, local reports said the naval force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) downed the U.S. drone in Iran’s waters. Iran’s state TV also released footage of the captured drone.
“The U.S. drone, which in the past days flew over the general [international] zone of Persian Gulf gathering intelligence, was trapped in the air defence and controlling systems of IRGC and was captured as soon as it entered Iran’s airspace,” said the SepahNews affiliated to IRGC.
Mr. Salehi said the violation of airspace by the ScanEagle drone would be used as evidence against Washington at international courts, according to Press TV. Western reports quoted a spokesman for the U.S. Navy in Bahrain as denying the Iranian claims.
No American drone of ScanEagle type was missing in the Persian Gulf, said the spokesman, adding that the operations of U.S. drones are confined to international waters.
Earlier, in December 2011, Iranian media reported that the military downed the U.S. RQ-170 stealth aircraft in the eastern part of Iran after finding it transgressing the eastern border.
U.S. officials later denied that the drone was brought down by Iran, insisting that its fall was due to mechanical problems.
Also, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the semi-official Fars news agency on Wednesday that “the powerful controlling of the U.S. drone is one of the signs of Iran’s progress in protecting its airspace”. Also on Wednesday, IRGC said it had fully extracted the data on the U.S. “spy drone” it captured over the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, according to Press TV.