Former US Vice President Dick Cheney has criticized the US President Barack Obama for failing to destroy the spy drone recently downed in Iran.
Cheney said in an interview with CNN on Monday that Obama should have ordered an airstrike to quickly destroy the downed high-tech unmanned aerial aircraft to prevent the Islamic Republic from subjecting it to examination.
He also said Obama was presented with three options for recovering or destroying the UAV, but he rejected all of them.
"The right response to that would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it," Cheney said, adding, "You can do that from the air. You can do that with a quick air strike.”
Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit successfully brought down the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft with minimal damage on Sunday, December 4, 2011. The aircraft was flying over the northeastern Iran city of Kashmar, some 225 kilometers (140 miles) away from the Afghan border.
On December 6, two US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to CNN that the drone had been part of a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reconnaissance mission, involving the US intelligence community stationed in Afghanistan.
They said the reconnaissance capability of the drone enabled it to gather information from inside Iran by flying along Afghanistan's border with the Islamic Republic.
The RQ-170 is designed and developed by the US Lockheed Martin Company.
Iran has announced that it intends to carry out reverse engineering on the aircraft, which is similar in design to a US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber.
Tehran says that the US spy mission was a “hostile act,” adding that it would lodge a complaint with the United Nations over the violation of its air sovereignty by the intelligence-gathering aircraft. It has urged the world body to condemn such contravention and adopt necessary measures to end the 'dangerous and illegal' acts.