IRGC dismisses claim of ‘unsafe approach’ to U.S. aircraft carrier

August 15, 2017 - 19:12

TEHRAN – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting claims that an Iranian drone had made an “unsafe approach” to an American aircraft carrier.

The IRGC stressed all aerial operations by Iran’s Air Defense Identification Zone are carried out under the standard safety regulations.

“The Guards’ drone patrols in Iran's Air Defense Identification Zone will continue with precision and in a continuous manner to safeguard the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran without taking heed of the psychological warfare operations of foreign forces present in the Persian Gulf,” the statement said. 

It further said the IRGC’s drones are equipped with standard navigation systems and that the drone flights are operated precisely and professionally.

The statement was released hours after U.S. Navy spokesman Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey said an Iranian QOM-1 drone flew within 300 meters (1,000 feet) of aircraft based on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in international waters on Sunday night, calling it an “unsafe and unprofessional” incident.

“Despite repeated radio calls to establish communications and remain clear, the QOM-1's controlling station was unresponsive and the (drone) did not use any aircraft navigation lights while it made several passes in close proximity to Nimitz and its escort ships during active flight operations, coming within 1,000 feet of U.S. aircraft,” McConnaughey said.

Back in June, the U.S. Navy claimed that an Iranian patrol boat had shined laser at an American helicopter flying over the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. Navy Commander Bill Urban noted that the American chopper responded by automatically firing flares at the Iranian vessel, adding the incident left no casualties and damage.

However, the commander of Iran's First Naval Zone, Rear Admiral Hossein Azad, strongly rejected the claim.

In recent months, several encounters have been reported between the navies of the two countries.

Weeks ago, the IRGC reported that the U.S. had made a “provocative and unprofessional” move by warning the Iranian vessels through firing flares, noting that the Iranian forces continued with their mission “in disregard of the unconventional and unusual behavior of American vessels” that later left the region.

MH/PA

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