The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the United States issued a warning to Iran last week after an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone was attacked by Iranian fighter jets. Pentagon press secretary George Little also rejected Iran’s claims that the surveillance drone was fired on because it had entered Iranian airspace. Little said the drone was in international airspace about 16 miles off the coast of Iran. It escaped the area undamaged.
"Our aircraft was never in Iranian airspace. It was always flying in international airspace. The recognized limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast, and we never entered the 12-nautical mile limit," he told reporters.
"The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters, over the Arabian Gulf, consistent with longstanding practices and our commitment to the security of the region,” Little said, adding that the warning was delivered to Iran through Swiss diplomats.
"I'm not going to get into legal labels. The reality is that we have a wide range of options, as I said before, to protect our assets and our forces in the region, and we'll do so when necessary," said Little.
Iranian Maj. Gen. Seyed Masoud Jazaeri defended the attack. "If any foreign planes try to enter our country's space, our armed forces will confront it. The defenders of the Islamic republic will give a decisive response to navy air, land or naval attacks,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.
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