Iran Says It Captured U.S. Drone; Navy Says No

TEHRAN, Iran (December 4, 2012)--No American drones are missing in the Middle East after Iran’s claim that it captured an unmanned American surveillance aircraft, Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, said.

Salata said all U.S. drones in the region are "fully accounted for."

He also cast doubt on Iranian claims Tuesday that the U.S. ScanEagle drone entered Iranian airspace, saying U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf are "confined to internationally recognized water and airspace."

He said U.S. ScanEagles have been lost into the sea, but said none have gone down recently.

Other nations in the Gulf, including the United Arab Emirates, have ScanEagle drones in service.

The 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain.

Iran, however, produced an image it says is a ScanEagle drone.

In 2011, Iran claimed it brought down a CIA spy drone after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The drone, equipped with stealth technology, was captured almost intact.

Washington asked for it back, but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.


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