TEHRAN, Iran, 9 Nov. 2012. Defense officials in Iran, including the country’s current defense minister, insist the U.S. drone fired upon had violated Iranian airspace; U.S. officials maintain that the MQ-1 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) was over international waters when it came under fire.
“Last week, an unknown aircraft entered Iran’s airspace in the Persian Gulf,” says Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s current Minister of Defense. “It was forced to leave on time by a wise and strong reaction on the part of the Iranian armed forces.”
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Mohammad Saleh Jokar, an Iranian lawmaker, has also insists that Iranian fighters shot at the pilotless aircraft because it had entered Iranian airspace. “Violation of the airspace of Iran was the reason for shooting at the American drone,” he said. “This showed Iran has the necessary readiness to defend against any invasion.”
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little maintains that the U.S. drone was involved in “routine surveillance” roughly 16 miles off the Iranian coast when an Iranian SU-25 warplane opened fire.