The US Navy released a statement denying that they have lost any unmanned aircraft in the area, including any ScanEagle surveillance drones, reports Reuters.
White House spokesman Jay Carney also stated, “We have no evidence that the Iranian claims are true.” The latest claims by Iran highlight tensions in the Gulf between the two nations, who are locked in a dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40 percent of the world’s oil travels, should the Middle Eastern nation be attacked. The US has countered, stating they will not let that happen.
Commander Jason Salata, a spokesman for the US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, stated:
“The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space.”
The BBC notes that Iranian state television showed images of what it claims is an unmanned US drone. It should be noted, however, that other nations in the region (such as the United Arab Emirates) also operate ScanEagle unmanned drones.
This isn’t the first time that Iran has claimed to have taken down a US drone. Iranian TV broadcasted pictures of an American RQ-170 Sentinel surveillance drone that the country claimed was brought down with electronic warfare. The US claimed that the drone had malfunctioned.
Iran has continued to reject a call from the US to return the unmanned drone. Considering the US has said no drones are missing, it is unlikely that call will be issued from the US for the latest drone Iran claims to have captured.