The U.S. military refuted claims by Iran that it captured an intelligence drone being flown over the Persian Gulf, Reuters reports.
Iranian state television broadcast images of a ScanEagle being inspected by Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps naval forces, reports said. The drone, a 4-foot off-the-shelf model built by Boeing, was displayed in front of a sign that read, “We will trample the U.S. under our feet.”
A spokesman for Naval Forces Central Command said no U.S. drone had gone missing in the region recently, Reuters said.
The rhetoric comes at a particularly delicate moment. The United States has stepped up spying operations on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor in the past two months, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The increased surveillance, conducted in part with drones flown over the Persian Gulf, has been driven by new concerns after nuclear engineers began moving fuel rods out of the facility in October, the report said. Iranian warplanes shot at a U.S. Predator drone flying over the Persian Gulf early this month. The shooting involved two Russian-made Su-25 jets known as Frogfoots, according to reports.