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    Tehran Says Downed US Drone Was in Stealth Mode and Engaged in Spy Activity - Letter to UN Chief

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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The US Navy drone shot down by Iran over the Strait of Hormuz was in a full stealth mode and engaged in a spying operation, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres obtained by Sputnik.

    "A US unmanned aircraft system, taken off from one of the bases of the US military forces in the South of the Persian Gulf, conducted an overflight through the Strait of Hormuz to Chabahar port in a full stealth mode as it had turned off its identification equipment and engaged in a clear spying operation", Ravanchi said in a letter on Thursday.

    The Iranian military gave repeated radio warnings to the US Navy drone before downing the unmanned flying vehicle, Ravanchi said.

    “When the [US] aircraft was returning towards the western parts of the region near the Strait of Hormuz, despite repeated radio warnings, it entered into the Iranian airspace where the air defense system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, acting under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, targeted the intruding aircraft at 04:05 hours local time on the same date at the coordinates N255943 and E570225 near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in the central district of Jask in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Ravanchi said in the letter.

    Ravanchi urged the international community to encourage the United States to halt its destabilizing actions in the Persian Gulf region.

    "The international community is called upon to demand the United States to put an end to its continued unlawful and destabilizing measures in the already volatile region of the Persian Gulf", Ravanchi stressed.

    Additionally, Ravanchi noted that following the US violation of the airspace, Iran filed an official protest through the Embassy of Switzerland that represents the United States in the Islamic Republic in the absence of diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran.

    "This is not the first provocative act by the United States against Iran’s territorial integrity. It is reminded that in all such cases, the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially protested to the U.S. through its interests section in the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran", the ambassador said.

    Earlier on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the Iranian military had retrieved fragments of the US drone from Iranian territorial waters.

    US Air Forces Central Command Commander Joseph Guastella told reporters on Thursday that Tehran's claims that an American RQ-4 drone was shot down over its territory were absolutely wrong given the unmanned aircraft never violated Iranian air space. CENTCOM said the downing of the drone was an attempt to disrupt US ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce.

    The incident followed recent attacks on at least six oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region that the United States quickly blamed on Iran.

    Prior to those incidents, the administration of US President Donald Trump began stepping up military forces in the Middle East in response to US intelligence claims that Iran was allegedly planning attacks on US interests and allies in the region.

    Tensions between Tehran and Washington have mounted following the abrupt US withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. A year later, the situation has deteriorated, with the US implementing new sanctions against the Islamic republic that target the country's finance, transport, military and other spheres.

    In May this year, Iran announced that it had partially discontinued its commitments under the landmark accord and gave Europe 60 days to ensure Iran's interests were protected under the agreement.

    Related:

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