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Iran: ‘We warned US aircraft before shooting it down’

Iran shot down a US Navy variant of a RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone on June 20
A US Airforce RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone, is seen here on the flightline at Edwards Air Force on December 19, 2016 in California, US [US Air Force photo]
A US Airforce RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone, is seen here on the flightline at Edwards Air Force on December 19, 2016 in California, US [US Air Force photo]

The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard said yesterday that it had warned the US’ unmanned reconnaissance aircraft several times before shooting it down, revealing that Iranian forces had refrained from attacking a US airplane carrying 35 passengers that was accompanying the unmanned aircraft.

This came in press statement by commander of Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, to official Iranian TV, according to the Associated Press. Hajizadeh stressed that “we warned them three times, but unfortunately they did not respond”.

Hajizadeh also pointed out that Iran collected the wreckage of the US aircraft from its territorial waters, claiming this constitutes “clear evidence” of its version of events.

The commander also said that Iran had refrained from hitting a US plane with 35 people on board that was accompanying the unmanned plane, which was shot down in the Gulf earlier this week.

Tasnim News Agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying:

There was a B8 US airplane carrying 35 people along with the unmanned aircraft in the region. This airplane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not.

Fars News Agency reported yesterday that Iran had informed the US – through the Swiss ambassador – that Washington would be responsible for the consequences of any military action. The Swiss ambassador in Tehran represents US interests in the Islamic Republic, since the US and Iran do not hold official diplomatic relations.

The Foreign Ministry – which summoned the ambassador – informed him that Iran does not want war with the United States, IRNA News Agency reported.

Read: US oil soars 10% in week on fears of US-Iran conflict

In separate statements, IRNA quoted the Director of the American Department at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Mohsen Baharund, as saying: “If our counterparty precipitate to take provocative steps, it will receive a reciprocal counterattack that may result in unpredictable consequences and all parties will bear its resulting losses and damages.”

The Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard said in a statement that it had shot down a US Air Force Global Hawk aircraft that was flying over the coastal city of Kuh-e Mobarak, in Hormozgan Province overlooking the Gulf of Oman.

However, the US military denied Tehran’s announcement, saying that the aircraft shot down by an Iranian missile “was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, and there are no US unmanned aircrafts operating in Iranian airspace”.

The Pentagon later said that Iran’s downing of an unmanned US aircraft over the Strait of Hormuz is “an unjustified provocative action against one of the US’ surveillance devices in international airspace”.

Yesterday morning, US media reported that the United States had refrained from carrying out punitive attacks against Iran in response to the incident.

On Thursday night, the US was reportedly planning to shoot “a range of Iranian targets such as radar and missile batteries,” but the plan was abruptly halted in its early stages, the New York Times reported, quoting senior White House officials.

Read: US regulator bars airlines from flying over some Iran-controlled airspace

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