Iran believes U.S. drone was spying on oil tankers: report

DUBAI Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:52am EST

Undated handout image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Lt Col Leslie Pratt/Handout

Undated handout image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Lt Col Leslie Pratt/Handout

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran believes a U.S. drone targeted by its forces this month was gathering intelligence on oil tankers off its shores, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Sunday.

Washington said Iranian warplanes opened fire on an unarmed U.S. drone over international waters on November 1. Iran said it had repelled an aircraft violating its airspace.

The incident underlined the risk of escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran in an ongoing dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

"The drone was flying near Kharg Island and our understanding is that ... it was gathering economic information and intelligence on Kharg Island and oil tankers (in the area)," Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying by Mehr.

Facilities on Kharg Island handle most of Iran's crude oil exports.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has some red lines that the Americans should understand and respect. If this is repeated, we will definitely react," he added.

Washington, the EU and other bodies have imposed sanctions on Iran's oil trade to press it to halt nuclear research the West fears is aimed at developing the capability to build a nuclear bomb.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran, if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.

Iran denies the charge saying its nuclear work is purely for peaceful purposes.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (1)
Numb3rTech wrote:
Reacting to a drone in international airspace and not infringing on Iran’s airspace would be an act of war. It would be stupid. The drones are not usually armed and just make sure shipping lanes are safe. Iran is not supposed to be transporting oil by tankers at this time, anyway. It is against the international sanctions imposed.

Iran should open up to the nuclear inspections and take away any fears from the international community. We need peace and commerce in these difficult times. We should never have to live in fear from anyone due to religion or politics.

The stupidity of governments is not to be believed. Why do this?

If Iran wants war, all they have to do is start it. Iran will cease to exist due to the fact so many nations will be involved.

Choose peace. Let the silly nuclear inspectors in. Do not build nuclear weapons. We want a world of peace, prosperity and growth. Change the religions so they want the same. In my opinion.

Nov 12, 2012 4:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
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