Reports: Iran threatened to shoot down U.S. surveillance aircrafts

Two American surveillance aircrafts neared the territorial waters of Iran during the weekend in order to “test the Iranian reaction,” according to U.S. officials. In response, the Iranian Army threatened to down the planes if they continued on their course – but the aircrafts ignored the warnings and continued on.
An incident in the Gulf. Archives Photo Credit: Reuters / Channel 2 News

According to official sources from the United States Department of Defense, Iran threatened to down two American aircrafts that neared its territorial waters. The incident took place on Saturday, the 10th of September, as two American surveillance aircrafts carrying 30 soldiers flew in the area of the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. At some point during their flight, the Iranian Army contacted the planes and demanded that they change their flight route, otherwise they would be shot down.

The aircrafts ignored the Iranian demand and continued flying in international airspace but “close to the border with Iran.” When the sources were asked why the aircrafts continued flying and did not change their course, they explained that they “wanted to test the Iranian reaction.”

The sources called the Iranian Army’s conduct “unprofessional.” One of the sources stressed that the U.S. Army did not consider the incident to be dangerous as U.S. intelligence reports attested to the fact that the Iranian Army had no missile launchers in the area that could threaten the American aircrafts.

A senior-level official from the Iranian Army denied the claims following the incident and pointed the blame at the United States. “The Iranian ships will continue to operate according to the standards of international law,” he told AFP News. “Not only are the American claims untrue but they stem from their fear of the might of the Iranian Army and its soldiers.”

This was only the latest in a series of incidents that have taken place recently between the U.S. Army and the Iranian Army. According to American security sources, last month, Iranian Navy boats harassed U.S. Navy warships “at least five times” off the coast of the Persian Gulf. In one of the five cases, a U.S. Navy coastal patrol craft was forced to fire three warning shots when an Iranian vessel ignored its radio calls to change course.

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