Just weeks after Iran brokered a nuclear agreement with the United States and other countries, in exchange for access to $150 billion in assets that had been frozen, Iran has signaled continued hostility toward the U.S. The latest example is a drone flying over the Persian Gulf.
Last month, it was reported that Iran flew an unarmed drone, Shahed-121, over the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman, and a nearby French warship. The ships were in international waters, almost 90 nautical miles off the Iran coast.
Now, it turns out that the drone is quite a bit scarier than first thought. (See video footage on the next page.)
The Shahed-121 drone is similar to Iran's new Shahed-129 drone, which is capable of carrying missiles, the U.S. Navy reports. This comes just months after Iran fired rockets close to U.S. warships.
"You're one broken rocket fin away from creating a serious international incident that could have had unfortunate consequences," Cmdr. Kevin Stephens of the U.S. Navy told the Associated Press. The U.S. Navy sent a helicopter to film the Shahed-121. Both the U.S. and French military confirmed the Iranian drone was unarmed.
When reports about the Iranian drone first surfaced, the U.S. Navy said it was a safe and routine exercise. However, in its internal report, which the AP has seen, the incident was described as "safe, abnormal, and unprofessional."
Iran was flying the drone in international airspace, so it was operating legally. Moreover, the U.S. couldn't shoot it down, or it would have been considered a U.S. act of aggression.
Iran is one of only a few countries equipped with drones that can be used in battles. In fact, the Shahed-129 (photo above) is being used for exactly that purpose in Syria, where Iran is supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, in that country's civil war.