The Pentagon has just announced that one of its unarmed, unmanned MQ-1 Predator drones was fired upon by Iranian aircraft whilst performing routine surveillance in international waters, 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast.
George Little, a spokesman for the Pentagon, stated, “we believe this is the first time an unmanned aircraft has been shot at over international waters in the Arabian Gulf.” The drone wasn’t hit and managed to return to is base safely.
The attack occurred on the 1st of November, but hasn’t been reported until now due to the fact that the Pentagon doesn’t disclose details about classified surveillance missions.
The attack was carried out by two Iranian Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack planes. Little explained that the drone was fired upon and pursued for several miles. “Our working assumption is that they fired to take it down.” Although he said that “you’ll have to ask the Iranians why they engaged in this action.”
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“We have communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf consistent with long-standing practice,” he said.
International tensions in the Gulf of Persia are already high due to the West’s sanctions against Iran, it remains to be seen if this incident will escalate the situation further, or is a sign that top is about to blow in the region.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com