How dare Iran!!!1one!

I predict this will become the latest steaming pile of neocon warmonger outrage over nada.

Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week, CNN has learned.

The incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes.

The drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait, U.S. officials said, adding it was engaged in routine maritime surveillance.

…The drone’s still and video cameras captured the incident showing two SU-25s approaching the Predator and firing its onboard guns.

The Iranian pilots continued to fire shots that went beneath the Predator but were never successful in hitting it, according to the officials.

U.S. military intelligence analysts are still not sure if the Iranian pilots simply were unable to hit the drone due to lack of combat skill, or whether they deliberately were missing and had no intention of bringing down the drone. But as one of the officials said, “it doesn’t matter, they fired on us.”

How dare they! Don’t those pesky Iranians know that they were firing at an aircraft of the Divinely Mandated Most Exceptional Nation Ever?

Firing warning shots, from ground-attack aircraft, at an unmanned drone “conducting surveillance”. Surveillance of who and what, exactly? Iranian shipping, Iranian military vessels? The story doesn’t say. We know the Pentagon is saying the drone was in international airspace but we also know the US and Iran disagree on where exactly the boundaries of Iranian territory lie.

As I say, nothing here but an excuse for some outrage.

Update: Reuters –  Iran said it would deal decisively with any foreign encroachment into its airspace, an apparent warning to the United States after one of its surveillance drones was targeted by Iranian warplanes last week.

Update 2: the Iranian defense minister has confirmed Iranian aircraft fired warning shots at the US drone, claiming that it was inside airspace over Iran’s 12 nautical mile territorial limit at the time and that the Iranian jets then saw the drone out of Iranian airspace.

“Last week an anonymous plane entered the space over the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf area which, due to the timely, clever and decisive action of our armed forces, was forced to flee,” Ahmad Vahidi was quoted on ISNA as saying on Friday.

The Pentagon claims the drone was 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast at the time of the incident – so we’re talking about a difference of 4 nautical miles, or just o hair over two minutes flight time for a Predator drone.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The most interesting thing about this isn’t the moral outrage – it’s that it was an Su-25. IIRC – and I’m pretty sure that I do – Frogfoots are only operated by the IRGC. Someone’s either a) freelancing, or b) acting on orders out of the Rahbar’s general vicinity, possibly with the intent of affecting the US election. No big surprise that they kept it quiet. I do, however, find the notion that they couldn’t hit the thing in A to A mode quite hilarious – I would not be surprised to find they fucked up their switchology.

  • Just as a BTW, given that it appears to have attracted some attention, the key nugget WRT location is that it was in international airspace. The border disagreement with Iran referred to dealt with where Iraqi waters ended and Iranian waters began (this all relates back to where the Thalweg line currently is in the context of a river that continually deposits alluvium – seriously, don’t ask).

    Where the 12 mile limit begins isn’t really contentious – which nation a piece of airspace within the 12 mile limit might belong to can be contentious, but then they wouldn’t be saying it was in international airspace.

    • “Where the 12 mile limit begins isn’t really contentious”

      This isn’t exactly true in this case. Iran has some weird ways of measuring it, based on some creeping sandbars in the area.

      • People say this, but I don’t think that’s an accurate understanding in this context. Iranian territorial waters are defined by 25 geographic points – the only one that isn’t a fixed lat/long position is the first one, which is at the mouth of the Shatt. Point 1 can move over time, but movement out into the Gulf is a matter of yards – not any relevant distance for this purpose. The thalweg line moves a bit more and this has much more relevance given how tight waters are up there and the various bones of contention between the parties, but that has basically zippo impact on how far out from the coast the 12 mile limit gets placed. I’ve mapped all of the points of their registered baseline (from which the 12 mile limit is defined) up in the Gulf proper and there’s nothing contentious there, though it’s clear that there are some transcription errors in their points as recorded (oops).

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