Tensions Rise Over Downed Drone

Each side has a different story about how it happened, but in December, Iran announced it had shot down an unmanned U.S. drone in Iranian airspace. The United States said the crew of the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone lost control during exercises in Afghanistan near the Iran border. The Iranians claimed they shot down the drone, which the Americans use for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

In media reports after the incident, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called the incident a violation. “The U.S. should know that what it did … can put international peace and security in danger,” he said. “The U.S. should take responsibility for the consequences of the measure.”

U.S. President Barack Obama asked Iran to return the drone, but the request was flatly refused.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said rather than demanding the drone’s return, the U.S. should apologize for invading Iranian airspace and signalled Iran’s intent to analyze the drone to gain intelligence about U.S. systems.

“There are people here who can control this spy plane, surely we can analyze this plane too,” CNN quoted Ahmadinejad as telling a Venezuelan television station. “The systems of Iran are as advanced as this system.”