US gives up plan to retrieve drone downed in Iran: ReportDecember 8th, 2011 - 9:27 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) The US had considered but finally given up a “covert mission” inside Iran to retrieve or destroy a stealth drone that crashed last week, fearing that such an action could provoke tensions with Iran, a media report said.
Unnamed US officials have insisted that the RQ-170 drone was not shot down by Iran. Instead it developed mechanical difficulties and remote pilots of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) lost control of the unmanned aircraft, Xinhua reported citing the Wall Street Journal.
After immediately knowing the drone had crashed, the US officials considered various options for retrieving the wreckage.
Under one plan, a team would have been sent inside Iran to retrieve the aircraft. They also considered sending a team of US commandos based in Afghanistan or using allied agents inside Iran to hunt down the downed aircraft, the report said.
Another option would have had a team sneak into Iran to blow up the remaining pieces of the drone. A third option would have been to destroy the wreckage with an air strike.
But the officials ultimately gave up the mission to retrieve or destroy the drone, fearing they would have risked discovery by Iran.
If an assault team entered the country, the US “could be accused of an act of war” by the Iranian government, the officials were quoted as saying.
The RQ-170 drone is an unmanned aircraft which has been used for reconnaissance and surveillance by the US in Afghanistan.
Despite Iranian claims, US officials have denied that the drone was brought down by Iran, either through hacking its satellite link or by shooting it down.
The report added that they are, however, concerned that the aircraft’s falling into Iranian hands could lead to security breach, although its technology cannot be “reverse-engineered” with ease.
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Tags: act of war, allied agents, assault team, central intelligence agency, commandos, covert mission, drone, iran report, iranian government, mechanical difficulties, reconnaissance, satellite link, security breach, stealth, tensions, unmanned aircraft, wall street, wall street journal, wreckage, xinhua