BREAKING: Pentagon Confirms Iran Fired on US Drone
Will update as more info comes available
Iran fired on an unarmed U.S. drone last week as it was hovering in international airspace, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Note date of incident and we are just now learning of the situation
Spokesman George Little said the incident occurred Nov. 1 at 4:50 a.m. ET. He said the unarmed, unmanned drone was conducting "routine surveillance" over the Persian Gulf when it was "intercepted" by Iran. He said the MQ1 Predator drone, which was not hit, was not in Iranian airspace.
Little said the U.S. government has protested to the Iranians.
Asked about how the U.S. could respond, he said: "We have a wide range of options from diplomatic to military."
Little stressed that the drone was flying 16 nautical miles off the coast of Kuwait in international waters, and never entered the 12-mile limit that would constitute Iranian territory.
Update 1:40 CST:
More from CNN
Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week, CNN has learned.
The incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes.
The drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait, U.S. officials said, adding it was engaged in routine maritime surveillance.
Although the drone was not hit, the Pentagon is concerned.
Two U.S. officials explained the jets were part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps force, which has been more confrontational than regular Iranian military forces.
The Obama administration did not disclose the incident, which occurred just days before the presidential election on November 1, but three senior officials confirmed the details to CNN.
The officials declined to be identified because of sensitive intelligence matters surrounding the matter.
The drone's still and video cameras captured the incident showing two SU-25s approaching the Predator and firing its onboard guns.
The Iranian pilots continued to fire shots that went beneath the Predator but were never successful in hitting it, according to the officials.
U.S. military intelligence analysts are still not sure if the Iranian pilots simply were unable to hit the drone due to lack of combat skill, or whether they deliberately were missing and had no intention of bringing down the drone. But as one of the officials said, "it doesn't matter, they fired on us."
The official confirmed the United States protested the incident but has not heard back from Iran.
Iran has, at times, been confrontational in the region. In January, the U.S. military and coast guard had close encounters with Iranian Navy vessels which approached at high speeds and exhibited provocative behavior.
Posted by: Sherry 2012-11-08