Iran Shows U.S. Drone on TV, and Lodges a Protest
Iran exhibited images of a downed C.I.A. stealth drone on state television Thursday. The 2.5-minute video clip was the first visual evidence to emerge that Iran had possession of the remote-control surveillance aircraft since American officials confirmed over the weekend that it was missing.
The drone — which appeared to be in good condition despite Iranian claims that it had been shot down — was displayed on a platform, with photos of Iran’s revolutionary ayatollahs on the wall behind it and a desecrated version of the American flag, with what appeared to be skulls instead of stars, underneath the left wing.
Iran said on Thursday that it had formally protested the apparent violation of its airspace by the spy drone. Because Iran and the United States have no direct diplomatic relations, Iran made its complaint by summoning the ambassador from Switzerland, which manages American interests in Iran.
American officials have identified the missing drone as an RQ-170 Sentinel, an unarmed bat-winged aircraft used by the C.I.A. Its loss is a potentially significant intelligence blow for the United States, which has been stepping up its efforts to monitor suspected nuclear sites in Iran.
Iran’s leaders, who have been increasingly isolated diplomatically over the nuclear issue, have seized on the aircraft, which they say they captured on Sunday, as evidence of American hostile intentions toward Iran.
On state television, the video clip was narrated by a voice saying that Iran’s Revoluationary Guard Corps and army had ‘collaborated to shoot down the plane.’ The unnamed narrator gives the drone’s dimensions and describes ‘electronic surveillance systems and various radars.’ The narrative called the drone ‘a very advanced piece of technology.’
You have to wonder why some sort of a self destruction system isn’t on these planes.