Iran Fires On U.S. Drone: Oil Tanker Spying Believed To Be Purpose Of Unmanned Aircraft By Tehran

Zahra Hosseinian | The Huffington Post

DUBAI, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Iran believes a U.S. drone  targeted by its forces this month was gathering intelligence on  oil tankers off its shores, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards  commander told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Sunday.

Washington said Iranian warplanes opened fire on an unarmed  U.S. drone over international waters on Nov. 1. Iran said it had  repelled an aircraft violating its airspace.

The incident underlined the risk of escalation in tensions  between the United States and Iran in an ongoing dispute over  Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“The drone was flying near Kharg Island and our  understanding is that … it was gathering economic information  and intelligence on Kharg Island and oil tankers (in the area),”  Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic  Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying by Mehr.

Facilities on Kharg Island handle most of Iran’s crude oil  exports.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has some red lines that the  Americans should understand and respect. If this is repeated, we  will definitely react,” he added.

Washington, the EU and other bodies have imposed sanctions  on Iran’s oil trade to press it to halt nuclear research the  West fears is aimed as developing the capability to build a  nuclear bomb.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military  action against Iran, if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.

Iran denies the charge saying its nuclear work is purely for  peaceful purposes.

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