The Iranian government says it has decoded a captured US drone and is prepared to block further intrusions into its air space, according to the official Fars news agency.
"The US should wait and see the response to its blind intrusions and violation of Iran's airspace,” said Imam Hossein, a senior official of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corp.
The US military command issued a denial, but it was referring to any recent downings of surveillance aircraft, or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Iran was referring to a Stealth drone it said it captured Dec. 4 a year ago and a ScanEagle brought down in recent days. The question is whether the aircraft can be tricked to land, a practice called spoofing.
"The US Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognised water and air space," Commander Jason Salata said. "We have no record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently.”
The reports from Tehran further confused the issue by suggesting it had downed a second drone in recent days. Fars agency reports used the word “hunted".
US military authorities confirmed a drone crashed a year ago Iran. Photos shown on Iranian television suggested the Stealth aircraft was largely intact. Military software engineers presumably rewrote the code for US drones after the incident.
As for it taking a year to decode the hard drive of the first aircraft it should be remembered that after seizing the American embassy in November 1979 Iran assigned hundreds of its citizens to piece together shredded documents. They succeeded in some cases.
Some background: The Straits of Hormuz are the main point of contact and conflict between US and Iranian forces.
Wikipedia describes the area: The Strait of Hormuz /hɔrˈmuːz/ (Arabic: مَضيق هُرمُز Maḍīq Hurmuz, Persian: تَنگِه هُرمُز Tangeh-ye Hormoz) is a strait between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. It is the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world's most strategically important choke points. On the north coast is Iran, and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman. At its narrowest, the strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km) wide.