Iran says repelled unidentified plane from its airspace

DUBAI Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:14am IST

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran repelled an unidentified aircraft violating its airspace, it said on Friday, after Washington reported a U.S. surveillance drone was shot at by Iranian warplanes last week.

Defence Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi appeared to be referring to the U.S. drone which the Pentagon said had not entered Iranian territory. The incident has underlined the risk of U.S.-Iranian tensions escalating into a military clash.

"Last week an unidentified plane entered the airspace above the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf which, due to the timely, quick and decisive action of the Iranian Armed Forces, was forced to flee," Iran's state-run Press TV quoted Vahidi as saying.

Vahidi said Iran was investigating the incident and pursuing the case via international channels.

Iran's Fars News Agency said the aircraft was "shooed away" by Iranian fighter jets, but it did not elaborate.

Earlier on Friday, General Massoud Jazayeri, a senior military commander, said Iranian forces were prepared to respond to any incursion by air, sea or land, without specifically mentioning the drone incident, Fars reported.

On Thursday, U.S. officials said the unarmed Predator drone was in international airspace on November 1 when Iranian warplanes opened fire on it. The aircraft was not hit.

It was believed to be the first time that Tehran has fired at an unmanned U.S. aircraft in their 33-year stand-off.

Washington accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons capability and has not ruled out military action if it considers Tehran close to getting the bomb. Iran, which denies seeking atomic arms, is resuming talks with the U.N. nuclear agency in December.

PREDATOR

According to the Pentagon, two Soviet-designed SU-25 aircraft intercepted the Predator over Gulf waters about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast; international airspace begins at 12 nautical miles.

After firing at the drone, the Iranian planes followed it for several miles as it moved further from Iranian airspace, the Pentagon said. Washington has issued a diplomatic protest to Iranian authorities.

News of the incident emerged ahead of large-scale air defence drills Iran has planned across several eastern provinces in coming days.

The "Velayat 4" manoeuvres will be jointly held by the regular armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and will test new radar and surveillance equipment, Iranian military commanders said.

On Tuesday this week, Iran impounded a Saudi Arabian fishing vessel that entered its southern territorial waters, according to Press TV.

It did not give details of the incident, but fishermen and traders from the two countries, on opposite sides of the Gulf, sometimes stray into each other's waters.

Last month, Saudi border guards arrested 15 Iranians who tried to enter Saudi Arabia by boat, Saudi media reported.

(Reporting by Marcus George and Andrew Torchia; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

ONGC Share Sale

ONGC Share Sale

ONGC share sale scheduled for this fiscal - oil minister  Full Article 

The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files

Record Earnings

Apple iPhone sales trample expectations as profit sets global record  Full Article 

'Umrika' At Sundance

'Umrika' At Sundance

From Oscars to Sundance, Sharma and Revolori discuss India's 'Umrika'  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Smooth Wawrinka, ill Serena through to Melbourne semis   Full Article 

India's Male Tenor

India's Male Tenor

India's lone male tenor aims to sing opera in local key  Full Article 

Japan Hostages

Japan Hostages

Mother of Japanese captive begs PM to save son held by Islamic State  Full Article 

Tripoli Attack

Tripoli Attack

Frenchman, American among those killed in Tripoli hotel attack - Libyan official.  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts.  Full Article 

Spying Row

Spying Row

Spying program leaked by Snowden is tied to campaign in many countries.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage