MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has repelled an unidentified aircraft violating the country’s airspace, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Friday, implicitly confirming a US claim that Iranian forces had fired on a US drone recently.
Tehran is currently investigating the incident, he was quoted by Press TV as saying.
A top military commander said earlier on Friday Iran will stop any attempts to violate its airspace.
“If any foreign aircraft seeks to enter our country’s airspace, our Armed Forces will confront it,” Deputy Chairman of Iranian Armed Forces' Chiefs of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said.
The Iranian Armed Forces will “firmly” respond to any ground, sea or air aggression, he added.
Jazayeri's remarks come a day after the US Defense Department claimed that Iran recently shot at an unmanned US drone flying over the Gulf.
“On November 1, at approximately 4:50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, an unarmed, unmanned MQ-1 US military aircraft conducting routine surveillance over the Arabian Gulf, was intercepted by an Iranian Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft and was fired upon with guns,” Pentagon spokesman George Little was quoted as saying in the statement.
He said the incident occurred in international waters about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast. The US drone was not damaged and later returned to its base. He said it was the first time a drone flying over the Persian Gulf had come under fire.
The incident came a year after a US drone went down after crossing into Iran's airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. Tehran said the aircraft was shot down, but Washington said it malfunctioned and crashed.