Iran Says It Captured “Foreign Enemy Drone” During Military Exercise

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Saturday that it had captured a foreign unmanned aircraft during a military exercise in southern Iran.

Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, a spokesman for the military exercise, said the Guard’s electronic warfare unit spotted signals indicating that foreign drones were trying to enter Iranian airspace. Sarkheili said Guard experts took control of one drone’s navigation system and brought it down near the city of Sirjan where the military drills began on Saturday.

“While probing signals in the area, we spotted foreign and enemy drones which attempted to enter the area of the war game,” the official IRNA news agency quoted the general as saying. “We were able to get one enemy drone to land.”

In this image taken from the Iranian state TV’s Arabic-language channel Al-Alam, showed what they purport to be an intact ScanEagle drone aircraft put on display, as an exclusive broadcast Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012, showing what they say are the first pictures of a captured drone. Iran authorities claimed Tuesday it had captured a U.S. drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf, and showing an image of a purportedly downed craft on state TV, but the U.S. Navy said all its unmanned aircraft in the region were “fully accounted for.”(AP Photo / Al-Alam TV) TV OUT

Sarkheili did not say whether the drone was American.

In Washington, a CIA spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Iran has claimed to have captured several U.S. drones, including an advanced RQ-170 Sentinel CIA spy drone in December 2011 and at least three ScanEagle aircraft.

State TV said the Guard’s military exercise, code-named Great Prophet-8, involved ground forces of the Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force. State TV showed tanks and artillery attacking hypothetical enemy positions. He said various systems, including unmanned planes that operate like suicide bombers, were tested.

“Reconnaissance as well as suicide drones, which are capable of attacking the hypothetical enemies, were deployed and their operational capabilities were studied,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

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