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Downed US drone is Iran's property: Minister

Tuesday December 13, 2011 06:49:30 PM, IANS

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Iran shoots down US drone

A US drone was shot down by the Iranian military in the eastern part of the country Sunday, a media report said. Xinhua quoting the Arabic-language al-Alam TV said that a US reconnaissance aircraft was downed near the country's  »

Tehran: Iran Tuesday dismissed a request from the US that Tehran return a spy drone that crashed in the country, saying the aircraft was now the "property of the Islamic republic" and that it would decide what to do in this regard.

Iran announced Dec 4 it had downed an RQ-170 Sentinel drone of the US in the Tabas desert in the eastern region. Tehran claimed it hacked into the operating system of the unmanned aircraft causing it to crash.

"The US spy drone is the property of the Islamic Republic and our country decides what to do in this regard," Defence Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

US officials have denied the aircraft was brought down by Iran. They said the drone, used for surveillance in Afghanistan, crashed due to mechanical problems.

Vahidi said the US should apologise for invading Iranian air space rather than asking for the return of the drone, the Mehr news agency reported.

The defence minister's remarks came after US President Barack Obama had announced Monday that a formal request for the return of the drone would be made to Iran. However, he said he was not very hopeful that Iran would comply.

"As has already been indicated, we have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said at a joint press conference with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Parviz Sorouri, a member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Affairs Commission, said the drone's computer code is being copied.









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