Iranian military official quoted as warning of crushing response after unmanned spy plane is shot down
Iran's armed forces have shot down an unmanned US spy plane that violated Iranian airspace along its eastern border.
An unidentified military official quoted by the official Irna news agency on Sunday warned of a crushing response to any violations of Iranian airspace by US drone aircraft.
"An advanced RQ170 unmanned American spy plane was shot down by Iran's armed forces. It suffered minor damage and is now in possession of Iran's armed forces," Irna quoted the official as saying.
No further details were given.
Iran is locked in a dispute with the US and its allies over Tehran's alleged nuclear programme, which the west believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying the programme is designed to generate electricity and produce isotopes for medical use.
Tehran said in January it had shot down two other unmanned spy planes over its airspace which were operated by the US.
Iran itself has focused part of its military strategy on producing drones, both for reconnaissance and offensive purposes.
It announced three years ago that it had built an unmanned aircraft with a range of more than 600 miles, far enough to reach Israel.
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, unveiled Iran's first domestically built unmanned bomber in August 2010, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.