President Rouhani: Downing US spy drone with fully indigenized systems “valuable”

FNA – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani voiced pleasure that the country’s Armed Forces have been able to shoot down an intruder US spy drone, using fully home-made missile and radar systems.

“That we shoot down a US drone is an art and that we hit the drone with a home-made missile is a second art (achievement),” President Rouhani said, addressing a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

He also praised the Iranian Armed Forces for detection and interception of the spy drone with indigenized radar and missile systems, saying, “The radar and missiles have been made by Iran and it is highly valuable to us.”

In relevant remarks in June, President Rouhani praised the defense ministry and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for their strenuous efforts to develop precision-striking and powerful missiles, after downing a US spy drone over Iran’s territorial waters.

“We kiss the hands of all industrialists and those who use the missile power correctly in the defense ministry and the IRGC. We do not fear the US but we have strategic patience. People are happy with the country’s defense power,” President Rouhani said, addressing the health ministry officials in Tehran.

He also referred to the last Thursday downing of a US spy drone over Iran’s territorial waters, and said it indicates that the Americans did not expect the country would be able to shoot their drone down as it was very difficult to detect the drone militarily.

The drone could not be simply detected due to its aerodynamics structure and coating, the President said, adding, “This drone has crossed the international waters and entered our territorial waters, and we warned them immediately, but they did not pay any attention. It’s a great thing to down this drone with our home-made technology. If we had shot down the UAV with the S-300, it would not have been an outstanding work, but we have done a great job through downing a hi-tech drone with our home-made system.”

He added that those who are familiar with military issues accurately understand the importance of this great measure.

“I do not want to say that we wanted to humiliate America, because we do not seek to humiliate anyone. But this boosted the morale of our nation. We have the necessary capabilities. We say that we have strategic patience; our patience is a strategic one; patience differs from fear. We are not afraid of the United States. The downed drone set an example, when invaders enter our space, they will be destroyed in a second, and this truly indicates our power,” Rouhani said.

“Of course, our patience has a red line. Our borders are our red line, and when the plane enters our borders, it has crossed our red line, and we have a duty to defend and we must defend the country,” he underlined.

Iran’s powerful defense system intercepted an intruder US Navy spy drone, MQ4-C Triton, over Iran’s territorial waters on June 20.

The IRGC shot down a US Navy’s Northrop Grumman MQ4-C Triton drone that had entered Iranian airspace in the Gulf of Oman to gather intelligence on June 20, using indigenous Sevvom Khordad surface-to-air missile system.

The United States had confirmed that one of its reconnaissance planes was shot down by Iranian air defenses, but denied that it intruded into Tehran’s airspace at the time.

Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that his forces could have also shot down a US P8 aircraft with 35 on board which was violating Iran’s airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.

“We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region,” Brigadier General Hajizadeh said on June 21, adding that his forces had also traced a military P8 aircraft violating the airspace of Iran.

“Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too,” he said, adding, “But we did not do (shoot down) it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US.”

General Hajizadeh also stressed on June 22 that Iran was not after war but was fully ready to defend itself, adding that the fate of the downed US spy drone was waiting for any intruding flying object.

“Our response to anything trespassing Iranian territory is like this, and if such acts of aggression are repeated, our response will also be the same,” General Hajizadeh said.

“We don’t embrace war but we are ready to fully defend the country,” he said.

“We possess a collection of US drones which is a proof that US has violated Iran’s airspace and shows that they don’t want to respect the international law,” General Hajizadeh said.

“If such an aggression is repeated, we will add other US (military) products to complete this collection,” he noted.

“The US measure was in violation of international law and we acted according to our legitimate responsibility,” General Hajizadeh said, adding, “It is possible that a US general or some operators were behind this American aggression, we don’t know that. But that measure (intruding into Iranian airspace) is a violation of international aviation rules by a spy drone which then received our natural response.”

Meantime, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.

The incident sent “a clear message” to the US and other enemies that Iran will show a firm and crushing response to any aggression, he stated.

“Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and national interests,” the major general noted.