Iran Warns to Give Tougher Response to Airspace Violations by US
News number: 9107118528 19:26 | 2012-11-11
TEHRAN (FNA)- The US drone shooed away by Iranian fighter jets earlier this
month was on an intelligence gathering mission near Iran's Kharg Island, the
IRGC's Air Defense Commander said, and warned that the Iranian jets only
fired warning shots in the incident, but will "give a harsher response" to
hostile aircraft next time.
Speaking to reporters here in Tehran on Sunday, Commander of the Islamic
Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali
Hajizadeh said, "The US spy drone had entered the Iranian airspace above the
southern coasts of the Bushehr province and was faced with the timely
reaction of IRGC fighter jets."
"According to reports by Americans, this (type of) aircraft is tasked with
intelligence gathering, or in other words spying, missions," he said, adding
that the US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was an NQ1 drone.
Brigadier General Hajizadeh also noted that the aircraft was gathering
intelligence on Kharg Island and voyage of oil tankers in there.
"These aircraft had violated the Flight Information Region (FIR) (of the
Islamic Republic in the Persian Gulf) before and we had warned them, but
this time the warning was much harsher," he continued.
"We do not ignore our national interests and if the enemy crosses our
red-lines and this incident is repeated, we will deal with it more harshly,"
Brigadier General Hajizadeh said.
"We fired warning shots and if they do not pay attention, they may be
confronted with harsher actions and responses," he said.
The commander rejected the western media speculation that Iran, similar to
the US, withdrew the information about the incident from the media in a bid
to avoid negative impacts of such a military confrontation on the reelection
of the US president, Barack Obama, in this week's presidential campaign.
"If we had the aircraft's wreckage, we would have publicized the incident,
but we acted upon our duty and whatever we do, we also have the courage to
announce it," he said.
On Thursday the Pentagon reported that Iranian fighter jets had opened fire
on a US drone over the Persian Gulf on November 1, but did not hit the
According to the timeline provided by the Pentagon, two Iranian SU-25
"Frogfoot" aircraft intercepted the American drone at about 4:50 a.m. EST
(0850 GMT) as it conducted a classified mission over Persian Gulf waters
about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast.
In response, Iranian defense officials confirmed the military confrontation,
but stressed that the US drone had violated the Iranian airspace.
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi confirmed the report
on Friday, saying that the aircraft was shooed away by Iranian fighter jets.
"Last week an unidentified aircraft entered the airspace over Iran's
territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, which was forced to flee due to the
prompt, smart and decisive action of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed
forces," Vahidi said in a statement released by the Iranian Defense
He stressed that the incident and similar events in the past all indicate
that "the Islamic Republic of Iran is vigilantly and precisely monitoring
all moves and provides decisive, necessary and prompt response with
efficient power" to any hostile move.
The Iranian defense minister further stated that Iran is pursuing the case
at relevant international bodies using all available capacities.
The Pentagon report was given a wide coverage in the US media and sent gold
prices high up in the world markets.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said the aircraft fired multiple rounds at
the Predator drone and followed it for at least several miles as it moved
farther away from Iranian airspace.
"We believe that they fired at least twice and made at least two passes," he
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was quickly notified of the incident, as were
members of Congress and the White House, Little added.
Political analysts believe that the Iranian fighters intended to just shoo
away the American predator.
The United States also sent Iran a warning through diplomatic channels,
saying it would defend its military assets and would keep sending aircraft
on similar missions in the Persian Gulf.
"There is absolutely no precedence for this," Little said. "This is the
first time that a (drone) has been fired upon to our knowledge by Iranian
American officials said that the Iranian SU-25s were flown by the Islamic
Revolution Guards Corps as the IRGC is responsible for protecting security
over the Persian Gulf.