Iranian military fired on unarmed U.S. drone

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s defense minister said Friday that a U.S. drone violated Iranian airspace a week ago when Pentagon says the pilotless aircraft came under fire. The U.S. maintains the drone was over international waters.

“Last week, an unknown aircraft entered Iran’s airspace in the Persian Gulf,” said Gen. Ahmad Vahidi. “It was forced to leave on time by a wise and strong reaction on the part of the Iranian armed forces.”

Vahidi’s remarks came a day after the Pentagon said an Iranian military plane fired on — at least twice — but did not hit, an unarmed U.S. drone a week ago. A Pentagon spokesman said the pilotless aircraft was in international airspace over the Persian Gulf and returned to base unharmed.

The shooting in the Gulf, which occurred just before 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Nov. 1, was unprecedented, though it marked the second incident involving a U.S. drone and Iran.

Last December, a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone equipped with stealth technology was captured in eastern Iran. Tehran claims it brought down the aircraft, but U.S. officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land.

Vahidi, the Iranian defense minister, was quoted Friday by the country’s official IRNA news agency as saying last week’s incident “proves that Iran monitors all moves (in the Gulf) and will apply necessary and strong action when needed.”

His remarks followed those of Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Saleh Jokar who earlier Friday told state-owned yjc.ir news website that Iranian fighters shot at the U.S. drone because it had entered Iranian airspace.

“Violation of the airspace of Iran was the reason for shooting at the American drone,” Jokar said. “This showed Iran has the necessary readiness to defend against any invasion.”

Also, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Masoud Jazayeri, a senior general in the powerful Revolutionary Guard, as saying Iran would confront any “flying object” that entered its air space and would “strongly respond to any ground, sea or air invasion.”

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Thursday that the U.S. drone was performing “routine surveillance” and was about 16 miles off the Iranian coast when an Iranian SU-25 warplane intercepted it and opened fire. He said it was the first time an unmanned U.S. aircraft was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf.

“Our aircraft was never in Iranian air space. It was always flying in international air space,” Little told Pentagon reporters. He said the U.S. informed the Iranians that it would continue to conduct such surveillance flights in international airspace.

In the case of the Sentinel drone, after initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran’s military and nuclear facilities. Washington asked for it back but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been high over Iran’s suspect nuclear program. The U.S and its allies believe Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation and cancer treatment.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Granite Falls
Prosecutors: ‘Yo mama’ joke led to racist assault in Granite Falls

A man took offense and went into a rage, spewing racist slurs as he beat up a teenager, charging papers say.

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

The Everett Districting Commission is proposing four adjustments to the city council districts based on 2020 Census data. (City of Everett)
Proposed map shifts every Everett City Council district

Census data from 2020 prompted several “small tweaks” to council district boundaries.

Cars wait to turn onto Highway 9 from Bickford Avenue on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 9 stretch closing for roundabout work next week

Drivers will need to use detours as the closure affects the stretch between Second and 30th streets in Snohomish.

Commanding Officer Meghan Bodnar is greeted by her son Grady, who hasn’t seen her in 224 days, at Naval Station Everett on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 200-plus days abroad, Navy destroyers return to Everett homeport

The USS Gridley is one of the few women-led ships, attesting to a growing number of women in the U.S. military.

Snohomish County is considering buying the America's Best Value Inn in Edmonds and converting it into shelter. Photographed in Edmonds, Washington on August 15, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish County eyes another motel-to-shelter project in Edmonds

The potential $9.1 million purchase was announced on the heels of another proposed motel-to-shelter conversion in Everett.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Abortion rights protesters fill all four corners of the intersection in front of the Everett Planned Parenthood in support of abortion rights on Saturday, July 9, 2022 (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GOP cheered abortion ruling. Democrats responded by voting.

A swell of electoral support for Democrats pushed turnout higher in primary. Republicans look to adjust for November

People begin to gather on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, at the North Mountain Fire Lookout north of Darrington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘A labor of love’: Restoration of lookout north of Darrington now complete

Volunteers spent eight years repairing the 57-year-old North Mountain Fire Lookout. Last week, they gathered to celebrate.

Most Read