Iran: U.S. Drone Now our 'Property'

A U.S. drone captured by Iran is now the "property" of the Islamic republic, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Tuesday, after a request by U.S. President Barack Obama for its return.

"The American espionage drone is now Iran's property, and our country will decide what steps to take regarding it," Vahidi was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

"Instead of apologizing to the Iranian nation, it (the United States) is brazenly asking for the drone back," Vahidi also said, according to another news agency, Mehr.

Obama on Monday acknowledged that Iran was holding the reconnaissance drone -- a bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel -- by saying: "We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond."

Also Tuesday, the foreign ministry spokesman stressed the aircraft violated Iranian airspace.

"It seem he (Obama) has forgotten that Iran's airspace was violated, spying operations were undertaken, international laws were violated and that Iran's internal affairs were interfered with," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in his regular media briefing, according to Fars news agency.

"Instead of an official apology and admitting to this violation, they are making this request," he said.

Iran last week displayed on state television what it said was the drone. A lawmaker said the Islamic republic was unlocking the aircraft's software and was going to reverse-engineer the drone.

Source: Agence France Presse

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