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Iran claims capture of foreign ‘enemy drone’ during military exercise

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Iran said Saturday that it downed and captured another “enemy drone,” the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

The incident reportedly took place during an Iranian military exercise in southern Iran.

“We have managed to bring down a drone of the enemy. This has happened before in our country,” the agency quoted war games spokesman General Hamid Sarkheli as saying in Kerman, southeast Iran, where the military exercise is taking place.

“IRGC’s electronic warfare systems detected electronic signals, which indicated that foreign drones intended to enter our country,” said Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Lt. Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, Fars reported. “Our specialist forces then succeeded in bringing down the drone in the field of maneuvers.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have brought down a foreign surveillance drone during a military exercise, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said on Saturday.

The agency gave no details on who the drone belonged to.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said he had seen the reports. He noted that the Iranians did not specifically claim that the drone was American.

In the past, there have been incidents of Iran claiming to have seized U.S. drones.

In early January Iranian media said Iran had captured two miniature U.S.-made surveillance drones over the past 17 months.

Several drone incidents over the past year or so have highlighted tension in the Gulf as Iran and the United States flex their military capabilities in a standoff over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Iran said in January that lightweight RQ11 Raven drones were brought down by Iranian air defense units in separate incidents in August 2011 and November 2012.

Iran on Saturday said it has found significant new deposits of raw uranium to feed its nuclear program and has identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations, just days before talks with Western powers over its disputed atomic program.

The Iran Atomic Energy Organization report cited by state news agency IRNA on Saturday said the deposits were found in “southern coastal areas” and had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates.

There was no independent confirmation but with few uranium mines of its own, Western experts had previously thought that Iran may be close to exhausting its supply of raw uranium.

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