TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Iranian military officials warned the country’s arch foe, the United States, to avoid spy missions against the country, saying that they would bring down any US drone which violates the country’s airspace.
Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani cautioned that Iran won’t remain silent to incursions by foreign surveillance drones.
The remarks came in response to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who said Wednesday that America will continue to conduct intelligence operations such as the one that led to the loss of its RQ-170 Sentinel over Iran two weeks ago.
Iran first announced on December 4 that its defense forces had downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyber attack.
The drone is the first such loss by the US. US officials have described the loss of the aircraft in Iran as a setback and a fatal blow to the stealth drone program.
The US media revealed last Thursday that Pentagon and the CIA considered several options on how to retrieve or destroy the drone, including sending a cross-border commando raid and delivering an air strike to destroy it.
However all were deemed too risky, since Tehran would consider such an operation an act of war, should it be discovered.
“No one warmed up to the option of recovering it or destroying it because of the potential it could become a larger incident,” an unnamed official told the Washington Post on Thursday.
The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The unmanned surveillance plane lost by the United States in Iran was a stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA, US officials admitted earlier this week.
The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA’s fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.