DUBAI Dec 5 Iran has obtained data from a U.S.
intelligence drone that shows it was spying on the country's
military sites and oil terminals, Iranian media reported its
armed forces as saying on Wednesday.
Iran announced on Tuesday that it had captured a ScanEagle
drone belonging to the United States, but Washington said there
was no evidence to support the assertion.
The incident has underscored tensions in the Gulf as Iran
and the United States draw attention to their military
capabilities in the vital oil exporting region in a standoff
over Iran's disputed nuclear programme.
"We have fully extracted the drone's information," Iran's
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in a statement on
Wednesday, according to Iran's English-language Press TV.
The drone was gathering military information and spying on
the transfer of oil from Iran's petroleum terminals, the IRGC
statement said, according to Press TV. Iran's main export
terminal is at Kharg Island.
The U.S. government has focused on blocking Iran's oil
exports through sanctions to persuade Iran to give up its
disputed nuclear programme, which the U.S. and its allies
believe is aimed at developing a bomb, something Iran denies.
Israeli officials have threatened to strike Iran's nuclear
sites if sanctions and diplomacy fail to stop its programme.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz
- through which about 40 percent of the world's seaborne crude
oil is shipped - if it comes under attack. U.S. commanders have
said they will not let that happen.
The compact ScanEagle drone had been flying over the Gulf in
the last few days and was captured when it strayed into Iranian
airspace, the IRGC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The U.S. military has been using Boeing Co ScanEagle
spy planes since 2004 and they have become a relatively
inexpensive way for the United States and others to conduct
In November, the United States said Iranian warplanes shot
at a U.S. surveillance drone flying in international airspace.
Iran said the aircraft had entered its airspace to spy on
Iranian oil platforms and said it would respond "decisively" to
In December 2011, Iran said it had captured a U.S. RQ-170
reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran which was reported lost by
U.S. forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Iranian commanders have since announced they have extracted
valuable technology from the aircraft and were in the process of
reverse-engineering it for their own defence industry.