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Report: Iran says it can control the drone

2011-12-13
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Report: Iran says it can control the drone 

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 13, 2011 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
 
Iranian officials display what they say is an unmanned U.S. spy plane brought down in Iran last week.

(CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country can "control" the U.S. drone aircraft that Iran claims it recently brought down, Venezuelan state TV reported.

"There are people here who can control this spy plane, surely we can analyze this plane too," Ahmadinejad told VTV. "The systems of Iran are as advanced as this system."

President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States has asked Iran to return the drone aircraft that Iran claims it recently brought down in Iranian territory.

"We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said.

 
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Ahmadinejad comments to VTV seemed to suggest that Iran did not have plans to return the aircraft.

"The North Americans at best have decided to give us this spy plane," Ahmadinejad said. "In the unpiloted planes, we have had many advances, much progress and now we have this spy plane."

Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said the drone no longer belongs to Washington.

"The U.S. spy plane is among the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Vahidi told reporters Tuesday, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency. "Our country will decide what to do with it."

The United States owes Iran an apology and needs to admit its crime, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday, the Iranian Students' News Agency report.

"The U.S. should know that what it did regarding violation of our air space can put international peace and security in danger," he said. "The U.S. should take responsibility for the consequences of the measure."

American officials have not confirmed that the drone shown in a video released last Thursday by Iranian media is a U.S. aircraft. But Pentagon spokesman George Little has said that an American drone is missing and had not been recovered.

Two U.S. officials have confirmed to CNN that the missing drone was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission that involved both the intelligence community and military personnel stationed in Afghanistan.

Iran's official Iran Republic News Agency said the country's armed forces had downed the drone near Kashmar, some 225 kilometers (140 miles) from the border with Afghanistan on December 4.

The Ahmadinejad interview was filmed in Iran on Tuesday and aired in Venezuela Monday night.

Ahmadinejad comments to VTV seemed to suggest that Iran did not have plans to return the aircraft.

"The North Americans at best have decided to give us this spy plane," Ahmadinejad said. "In the unpiloted planes, we have had many advances, much progress and now we have this spy plane."

Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said the drone no longer belongs to Washington.

"The U.S. spy plane is among the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Vahidi told reporters Tuesday, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency. "Our country will decide what to do with it."

The United States owes Iran an apology and needs to admit its crime, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday, the Iranian Students' News Agency report.

"The U.S. should know that what it did regarding violation of our air space can put international peace and security in danger," he said. "The U.S. should take responsibility for the consequences of the measure."

American officials have not confirmed that the drone shown in a video released last Thursday by Iranian media is a U.S. aircraft. But Pentagon spokesman George Little has said that an American drone is missing and had not been recovered.

Two U.S. officials have confirmed to CNN that the missing drone was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission that involved both the intelligence community and military personnel stationed in Afghanistan.

Iran's official Iran Republic News Agency said the country's armed forces had downed the drone near Kashmar, some 225 kilometers (140 miles) from the border with Afghanistan on December 4.

The Ahmadinejad interview was filmed in Iran on Tuesday and aired in Venezuela Monday night. 

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