x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Iran shows shot-down US drones to Russian

Revolutionary Guards say they reverse-engineered US navy drones shot down after they 'violated' Iranian-controlled territory.

TEHRAN // Iran has shown US drones it shot down over the Gulf to Russia, a top official with the Revolutionary Guard was quoted as saying yesterday.

"Russian experts requested to see these drones and they looked at both the downed drones and the models made by the guards through reverse engineering," the official IRNA news agency quoted General Hajizadeh as saying.

General Hajizadeh did not elaborate on the number or type of unmanned US aircraft it had shot down, or when or where it had done so.

Iran had announced on January 2 that its forces had downed two US drones after they "violated" Iranian-controlled territory.

It later said it would put the aircraft on public display.

"The planes that were shot down are among the most modern US navy drones and have a long-range capability," the Fars news agency quoted the commander of the guards' naval forces, Ali Fadavi, as saying at the time.

Washington never confirmed Tehran had shot down any of its drones.

General Hajizadeh also said yesterday that his country has the ability to produce even longer range missiles than those currently in its arsenal.

But he stressed that Iran will not manufacture such missiles because Israel and US bases in the Gulf are already within its reach.

The remarks came as Iran is conducting 10 days of war games, its latest show of military force amid a standoff with the West over the country's controversial nuclear programme.

General Hajizadeh said the guard's arsenal already includes missiles with a range of about 2,000 kilometres, putting Israel, US bases in the Gulf and parts of southeastern and eastern Europe within Iran's reach.

The missiles, he said, were specifically designed for Israeli and US targets. Iran's known missiles of such range are the Shahab-3 and the Sajjil.

* Agence France-Presse with additional reporting by Associated Press