Official: Iran has evidence it captured U.S. drone

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Last month, Iran claimed that a U.S. drone had violated its airspace. The Pentagon said the unmanned Predator aircraft came under fire — at least twice but was not hit — and that the drone was over international waters.

In late 2011, Iran claimed it brought down a CIA spy drone after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which is equipped with stealth technology, was captured almost intact. Tehran later said it had recovered data from the drone.

In the case of the Sentinel, after initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed it had been 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.

Cmdr. Salata noted Tuesday that some ScanEagles operated by the U.S. Navy “have been lost into the water” over the years, but there is no “record of that occurring most recently.”

Mr. Kowsari suggested that the drone may have belonged to the CIA if not the Pentagon, but he refused to go into detail.

He said the Americans eventually will confirm the Iranian claims.

“When we captured RQ-170 Sentinel drone, the Americans initially refuted Iran‘s version,” he said, “but later they had no choice but to admit it. The same will happen in the case of ScanEagle. It’s not something they can refute.”

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