WASHINGTON, (UPI) — A move by Iran to engage a U.S. drone near the Persian Gulf was “clearly” an act of aggression against U.S. interests, a top U.S. commander said.
Iran last week confirmed that it fired on “an unidentified plane” near its airspace the week before U.S. presidential elections. The plane in question was said to be an unmanned U.S. Predator drone.
U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that U.S. military leaders considered the act hostile in nature.
“We’re absolutely certain that we were within international airspace so their attack on the unmanned Predator, despite their assertions otherwise, was clearly a hostile act against our assets,” Dempsey said in a statement provided by the Defense Department.
Last year, the Iranian military said it retrieved an RQ-170 drone that had been flying under the authority of the CIA. It was reported that a remote U.S. pilot lost control of the vehicle near the Afghan border.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the Iranians were able to reverse engineer the craft.
The Defense Department said an Iranian fighter jet fired on the Predator at least twice, though the drone wasn’t damaged.