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Iran Claims RQ-170 Shot Down

USAF Says No Evidence To Support Claim

The US military is dismissing the latest claim by Iran that it has downed a US drone as a distraction tactic in the face of growing international isolation. The Pentagon does say the US Air Force lost control of an RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance and surveillance drone over western Pakistan last week, but there is no evidence it was shot down by Iran.

As it has done in other recent claims, the Iranian government has used an alleged airspace violation to threaten retaliatory action. The Al Alam state TV network quoted a military source as saying, "Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran...The Iranian military's response to the American spy drone's violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran's borders." In the past, Al Alam, an Arabic-language outlet, has sometimes carried one message to local viewers while media meant for foreign consumption has carried another.

Reuters notes the incident comes at a time when Tehran is trying to quell growing international outrage over the storming of the British embassy last week. That incident followed new British sanctions on Iran's central bank in response to reports that Iran's nuclear enrichment program is making strides. That embassy was closed, Iranian diplomats were expelled from Britain, and Germany, France and Spain have also recalled their ambassadors from Iran.

Tensions remain as the US and Israel have hinted that military action against Iran could be coming if the development of a nuclear capability becomes a threat to Iran's neighbors. A measure passed in the US Senate which would restrict Iranian oil exports has drawn a warning from the Iran's foreign ministry that such a move could push crude oil prices past $250 per barrel.

FMI: www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=16001

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