Pentagon: Iran Fighter Jets Fired on US Drone
The Pentagon claimed Thursday that two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired at an unarmed US Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf on November 1.
According to the US story, the incident occurred when a US drone was on routine maritime surveillance in international airspace east of Kuwait, 16 miles off the coast of Iran.
"Our aircraft was never in Iranian airspace. It was always flying in international air space. The recognized limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast and we never entered the 12 nautical mile limit," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in responding to questions from reporters after CNN reported the incident.
The US official further revealed that Washington communicated to the Iranians that they will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Persian Gulf consistent with long-standing practice.
In parallel, two US officials explained the jets were part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps force, which has been more confrontational than regular Iranian military forces.
"At least two bursts of gunfire came from the Su-25s' cannons," they stated, and noted that "the drone started to move away but the Iranian aircraft chased it, doing aerial loops around it before breaking away and returning to Iran."
However, doubts are raised on the causes that prevented the Obama administration from disclosing the incident before the presidential elections.
"The drone's still and video cameras captured the incident, showing two Su-25s approaching the Predator and firing onboard guns," US officials claimed.
According to them, the Iranian pilots continued to fire shots that went beneath the Predator but were never successful in hitting it.
"The United States protested the incident but had not heard back from Iran," they said.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org