Total Pageviews

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Video Iran Says Was Recorded by U.S. Drone Is Broadcast on State TV

As The Associated Press reports from Tehran, late Wednesday Iran’s state television broadcast what it described as video recorded by the American surveillance drone that crash-landed about 140 miles from the country’s border with Afghanistan in late 2011.

Video broadcast by Iranian state television Wednesday included what was described as footage recorded by an American surveillance drone that crash-landed in Iran in 2011.

The state television report includes aerial views of what the narration describes as the American air base in Kandahar, Afghanisan, mixed in with still photographs of an RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone at that base made public in 2011, and images of the craft being recovered in 2011 by Iran’s military.

The report features an interview with Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, identified as the head of the aerospace division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, who denied that the drone had simply crashed due to a computer malfunction, as American officials have claimed. “We were able to definitively access the data of the drone, once we brought it down,” General Hajizadeh said.

More footage said to have been recorded by the drone can be seen in a copy of the 24-minute Iranian report posted on YouTube on Wednesday by Le! nziran, a site that monitors Iranian media.

In an analysis of the footage for Foreign Policy, the national security reporter John Reed observes that in one segment of the Iranian report, “the camera on this aircraft is positioned behind a rather complex nose landing gear assembly â€" a layout that matches grainy Web images of the Sentinel that show what looks like a compartment that could contain a camera positioned on the bottom of the airplane, just behind the front landing gear.”

A copy of an Iranian television report on a captured U.S. drone posted on YouTube late Wednesday.

The report, Mr. Reed ads, also features what appear to be authentic images of an American air base, “right down to C-130s parked on the ramp,” and “what looks like an MQ-9 Reaper drone (or possibly two) parked in an enclosed ramp â€" a drone pen if you will â€" complete with a walled perimeter and those tent hangars that are seen at expeditionary drone bases around the world.”

As The A.P. notes, on Thursday Iran’s Fars News Agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, claimed that Iran had also started to produce functional copies of the smaller ScanEagle surveillance drone it displayed on state television in December. The Fars report quoted Iran’s deputy defense minister, Mohammad Eslami, saying that the country had also established a “production line for the drones in foreign countries.”