Tehran (AFP) – Iran shot down an unidentified drone that “infiltrated” close to Bandar-e Mahshahr port on the Gulf coast Friday, Iranian media reported, after the downing of a US drone practically triggered air strikes earlier this yr.
IRIB, a state broadcaster, aired a brief video purporting to indicate the interception of the drone by an Iranian anti-missile battery.
The six second sequence confirmed the luminous nighttime path of what gave the impression to be a missile earlier than an explosion at very low altitude.
However the video was not broadcast by state TV’s Farsi channel IRINN, which largely ignored the story.
Related items acted “in response to a violation of our airspace by a drone (that) infiltrated”, IRIBNEWS reported, citing Brigadier Normal Alireza Sabahi Fard, commander in chief of aerial defence.
“The drone was shot down earlier than it may attain delicate websites because of the good vigilance of our unified aerial defence system,” he mentioned.
Earlier, the semi-official ISNA information company reported that aerial defence had “destroyed an unidentified drone” which flew by way of the skies of Bandar-e Mahshahr in Khuzestan province.
Positioned close to Iraq, Bandar-e Mahshahr and the neighbouring port of Bandar-e Emam-Khomeiny is a key zone for petrochemical exercise.
The military downed the unmanned plane over Khuzestan province earlier than daybreak utilizing a Mersad surface-to-air missile, reported the Tasnim information company, which is near Iran’s ultra-conservatives and customarily properly knowledgeable on defence issues.
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Citing provincial governor Gholamreza Shariati, Tasnim reported that the armed forces had situated the wreckage of the drone in a marshy space and opened an inquiry into the incident.
Tasnim cited “unofficial” sources saying the missile that destroyed the drone had been fired “as a part of a nighttime fight train aiming to check aerial defence methods”. The company later deleted these particulars from its web site.
In line with state information company IRNA, Shariati mentioned the “unknown drone… (belonged) doubtless to a overseas nation,” with out specifying a rustic.
The unintended crash of an Iranian drone in the identical province on October 23 prompted newspaper reviews that an unidentified overseas plane had been shot down.
The conservative Fars information company later revealed that the drone that crashed in October was Iranian and had been pressured to make an emergency touchdown.
The incidents come amid hovering tensions between Tehran and Washington since President Donald Trump unilaterally deserted a landmark 2015 nuclear deal final yr and reimposed crippling sanctions.
US Central Command, which has duty for Washington’s army operations within the Center East, mentioned on Twitter on Friday “alleged reviews of a US drone being shot down are incorrect”.
The tweet didn’t specify a location for the incident it was referring to — or cite the place such allegations arose from — however added “all US gear has been accounted for”.
Trump in June authorised a army strike after Iran shot down a US drone, solely to name off the retaliation on the final second.
Washington insisted the plane shot down in June was in worldwide airspace, however Iran mentioned it was over its territorial waters.
The disaster deepened with the September 14 assaults on power big Aramco’s Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, which halved the dominion’s crude output.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed duty, however the US mentioned the assaults concerned cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of struggle”. Iran denied any involvement it was behind the Khurais and Abqaiq assaults.
Washington has responded with a army build-up within the Gulf and has launched an operation with its allies to guard navigation in Gulf waters.
Since Might, america has elevated its 70,000-strong presence within the Center East by 14,000 personnel, based on Pentagon figures, most of them deployed to the Gulf area.