US, Iran continue to spar over spy drone
TEHRAN / WASHINGTON
In this file photo US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during an interview. the US says blocking it’s virtual embassy shows Iran’s distrust of its own people.Russian and Chinese officials have asked for permission to inspect the United States spy drone allegedly downed by Iranian forces, Mehr News Agency quoted an informed Iranian military source as saying.
U.S. officials said the drone that crashed inside Iran on Dec. 4 was one of a fleet of stealth aircraft spying on Iran from a U.S. airbase in Afghanistan for years. “Bringing down the U.S. drone was a great move and a sign of the deterrence capabilities of Iran’s Armed Forces,” head of the Supreme Leader’s Office Mohammadi Golpayegani said Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Navy Cmdr. Gholam-Reza Khadem-Bigham announced on the same day advanced domestically manufactured electronic warfare equipment would be used in a major naval war game codenamed Velayat 90 to begin in the near future. The naval war game is planned to be held in the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean. Navy officials said the war game differs from previous ones in terms of the vastness of the area of action, military equipment and tactics employed in maneuvers.
The U.S. also criticized Iran for blocking public access to its new online “virtual embassy,” saying the move showed the Islamic regime’s distrust of its own people. Iran had yesterday responded to U.S. criticism of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, saying a web-based U.S. “virtual embassy” would fail to win over the Iranian people. Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the American outreach project will not overcome the effects of Washington’s hostility to Tehran, Associated Press reported.