IRGC commander: Drone attack message to US, Iran could down P8 aircraft with 35 on board
Tehran, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force said on Friday that his forces could have shot down a US P8 aircraft with 35 passengers on board while it was violating Iran's airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.
At the early hours of Thursday, the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) air force shot down an American spy drone, identified as RQ4 Global Hawk, that had violated Iranian airspace in the Kuh Mubarak (Mubarak Mountain) region located at Hormuzgan province, south of the country, the IRGC's public relations department said in a statement.
RQ4 typically flies at a high altitude to conduct reconnaissance missions.
IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the Americans ignored our warnings in addition to the fact that at the moment that the UAV was intercepted, another US military stealth aircraft dubbed P8 was flying next to it with 35 personnel on board. We could have targeted that too, but we refrained from doing that.
We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region, said Brigadier General Hajizadeh during a ceremony.
He also said that as the Americans said last week that 'Iranians had fired at us and wanted to bring us down', that was actually a warning which they again ignored. If we had wanted to down their aircraft, we would have done that then and there.
The IRGC Aerospace commander further noted that Iran had objected to the US so many times, we fired warning shots, but the Americans seem not care about international regulations. Therefore, under such circumstances, it is clear that we would react.
In an emergency phone conversation on Thursday night with the Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Markus Leitner, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that there was indisputable evidence that a US drone had violated Iran's airspace.
Iranian foreign minister too, said that sections of the US military drone were retrieved in Iran's territorial waters.
At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (2559'43N 5702'25E) near Kouhe Mobarak, Zarif wrote in his Twitter account on Friday.
He added: We've retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.
Earlier in a separate message, Zarif slammed the recent US violation of the Iranian airspace, saying Iran will zealously defend skies, land and waters.
The US wages #EconomicTerrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us & now encroaches on our territory, Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in his Twitter account on Thursday.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA