Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast lambasted Great Satan US President Barack Obama for asking Tehran to send back the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft that violated Iran’s airspace and was downed by the Iranian Armed Forces in Eastern Iran earlier this month.
“It seems that he (Obama) has forgotten that Iran’s air space has been violated, espionage operations have been carried out, international laws have been violated and Iran’s internal affairs have been interfered,” Mehman-Parast told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
“The US should know that such measures can endanger the international peace and security and it should accept its responsibility and its consequences,” he added.
Mehman-Parast also voiced surprise at the US administration’s demand, reminding that the US should have apologized for violating the Iranian airspace and carrying out espionage operations against the interests of the Iranian nation, instead.
US President Obama following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the White House called on the Iranian government to send back the US spy drone.
“We have asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments were the first official confirmation that the United States had asked for the return of the RQ-70 drone that was downed by Iran over a week ago.
During the last ten days, Pentagon and State Department officials have repeatedly claimed that they were unaware of any efforts by the American government to contact Iran to have the drone returned to the US.
A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Sunday that Iran would not send the drone back.
“This is not only an intelligence victory for us, but a defeat for our enemies,” the commander said.
Obama did not say how US officials asked Iran to return the drone, since there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Most probably, the request was made through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who represents American interests here in the absence of a US embassy.
Officials say the RQ-70 drone was flying a mission for the CIA over Iran at the time that it was downed by an Iranian cyber attack.
Publicly, American officials have remained tight-lipped about the drone’s mission and have not strayed beyond a vague statement issued by coalition military forces in Afghanistan shortly after Iranian state-run media showed the US drone.
Iran announced last Sunday that its defense forces had downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyber attack.
The drone is the first such loss by the US. US officials have described the loss of the aircraft in Iran as a setback and a fatal blow to the stealth drone program.
The US media revealed on Thursday that Pentagon and the CIA considered several options on how to retrieve or destroy the drone, including sending a cross-border commando raid and delivering an air strike to destroy it.
However all were deemed too risky, since Tehran would consider such an operation an act of war, should it be discovered.
“No one warmed up to the option of recovering it or destroying it because of the potential it could become a larger incident,” an unnamed official told the Washington Post on Thursday.
The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The unmanned surveillance plane lost by the United States in Iran was a stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA, US officials admitted earlier this week.
The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA’s fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.