Iran shows footage from captured drone

An image grab taken from decoded footage aired on Iran's state TV shows a military air base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Photo: Press TV)

Published Thursday, February 7, 2013

Iran revealed for the first time video footage recorded by a US spy drone captured over the Islamic republic more than two years ago, as the country’s supreme leader Thursday rejected dialogue following new US sanctions targeting its oil industry.

Video posted to the website of Iran’s state news agency included decoded footage of the RQ-179 Sentinel stealth drone as it landed at the Kandahar air base in neighboring Afghanistan.

Video shows decoded footage from the US spy drone:

The footage was captured by a camera located on the underbelly of the unmanned aircraft, which was electronically hijacked by defense workers on 4 December 2011 as it flew over the Iranian city of Kashmar, about 150 miles west of the Afghan border.

The report added that information taken from the drone suggests it had conducted reconnaissance flights over several countries in the region, including Pakistan where the United States is in the midst of an undeclared drone war on suspected militants.

Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace force, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, had previously announced that all data taken from the drone had been “fully decoded.”

The United States originally denied Iran’s claims to have captured the drone, but later asked for it to be returned after Iranian TV aired images of the aircraft on display.

In a separate incident in December 2012 Iran said it had captured a US spy drone in its airspace over the Gulf, but US Navy said it had not lost any unmanned aircraft in the area.

Meanwhile on Thursday Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei said negotiations with the United States would remain off the table so long as it continues to impose sanctions on Iran.

"You (Americans) want to negotiate when you are pointing the gun at Iran. The Iranian nation will not be intimidated by such actions," Khamenei told air force commanders, according to excerpts of his speech posted on his website.

"Some rejoice at the offer of negotiations ... (but) negotiations will not solve anything," he added.

The remarks come one day after the United States tightened sanctions on Iran to further choke off its oil income.

Khamenei’s statement was made just days US Vice President Joseph Biden said the United States was prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership.

The two countries are at odds over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. The United States and Israel accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP, Reuters)

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