Downing of the US spy drone a clear message to America, says Iran

Tehran: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami warned the US that it needed to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and national security, according to IRNA news agency.

“The downing of the American drone was a clear message to America… our borders are our red line and we will react strongly against any aggression.”

He added: “Iran is not seeking war with any country, but we are fully prepared to defend the country.”

The US military denied flying the drone over the Iranian airspace. “No US aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace today,” said Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the American military’s Central Command.

IRGC said in a statement that it shot down an “intruding” US spy drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz amid escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran in the region over the past months.

In the statement, the IRGC said the US’ “RQ-4 Global Hawk” was brought down by its Air Force near the Kouh-e Mobarak region, which sits in the central district of Jask county, after the unmanned plane violated Iranian airspace, Press TV reported.

But the US military said it had been over international waters.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near real time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather, its maker Northrop Grumman said on its website.

On Monday, the US Defence Department said it was deploying 1,000 extra troops to the region in response to “hostile behaviour” by Iranian forces.

Washington has also accused Tehran of attacking two oil tankers with mines last week just outside the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has rejected the allegation.