The Iranian defense minister confirmed today that his forces had shot a U.S. drone. But Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said it shot at the MQ1 Predator drone because it had trespassed into its airspace, The New York Times reports.
Yesterday, the Pentagon made the Nov. 1 incident public. But the United States’ story differs from the Iranian one. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that the drone was shot at while it was in international waters.
The Times adds:
“General Vahidi’s version of events also differed with the Pentagon version in another way: He said the two Iranian planes, which the Pentagon had identified as Russian-made Su-25 jets known as Frogfoots, belonged to the Iranian Air Force. The Americans had said the two planes were under the command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose activities are routinely more aggressive than the conventional Air Force. …
“It is unclear why Iranian officials had kept the episode a secret. It also is unclear, from the Iranian account, whether the warplanes had sought to down the drone and missed, or had fired warning shots to chase it away.”
Reuters says the incident represented the first time Tehran “had fired at an unmanned U.S. aircraft in their 33 year stand-off.”