Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Iran downs 'unknown' drone over Persian Gulf port

Iran downs 'foreign' drone over southern port city of Mahshahr Iran reportedly downs drone over southern port city of Mahshahr
Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2019, 07:28

Iran's air defense force has shot down an "unknown" drone in the country's southwest, the official IRNA news agency reported on Friday. "Its wreckage has been recovered and is being investigated", the governor of Khuzestan, Gholamreza Shariati, said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The accidental crash of an Iranian drone in the same province on October 23 prompted the newspaper reports that an unidentified foreign aircraft had been shot down.

The brigadier general did not specify from which country the device launched or identify its national origin, but U.S. Central Command, which lost a state-of-the-art spy drone to Iranian air defenses in June, tweeted: "Alleged reports of a U.S. drone being shot down are incorrect".

In the meantime, the Pentagon on Friday denied reports of a USA drone was shot down in Mahshahr as "incorrect".

The unmanned aircraft was downed over Iranian territory with domestically manufactured Mersad surface-to-air missiles.

The U.S. military's Central Command later wrote on Twitter that America had no drone in the area of the reported shootdown.

Regional tensions remain high over Tehran's collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, which the USA unilaterally withdrew from over a year ago.

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In June, Iran shot down an unmanned USA surveillance drone, which the elite Revolutionary Guards said was flying over southern Iran.

He confirmed that the drone was foreign but did not elaborate.

IRIB, a state broadcaster, aired a six-second video purporting to show the interception of the drone by an Iranian anti-missile battery.

The incident comes amid a period of high tension in the Middle East, as the U.S. continues its so-called "maximum pressure campaign" to cripple the Iranian government through unilateral sanctions, twisting of arms of its trade partners and military brinkmanship. The crisis deepened with the September 14 attacks on energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, which halved the kingdom's crude output.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted in August of possible Israeli involvement in attacks on Iranian-backed militia positions in Iraq.

There was no immediate comment from the United States.