Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has rejected US claims that a drone made an “unsafe approach” to an American aircraft carrier.
The IRGC’s drone division released a statement on Tuesday stressing that all aerial operations in Iran’s Air Defense Identification Zone are carried out in accordance with the standard safety regulations, rejecting the claims by the US Navy.
“IRGC drone patrols in Iran's Air Defense Identification Zone will continue with precision and in a continues manner to safeguard the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran without taking heed to the psychological warfare operations of foreign forces present in the Persian Gulf,” added the statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, US Navy spokesman Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey said in a statement that an Iranian QOM-1 drone flew within 300 meters (1,000 feet) of aircraft based on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in international waters on Sunday night, calling it an "unsafe and unprofessional" incident.
"Despite repeated radio calls to establish communications and remain clear, the QOM-1's controlling station was unresponsive and the (drone) did not use any aircraft navigation lights while it made several passes in close proximity to Nimitz and its escort ships during active flight operations, coming within 1,000 feet of US aircraft," he said.
Iranian forces are tasked with guaranteeing security within the country’s maritime borders, where they have been involved in a series of face-offs with US vessels for intrusion into Iranian territorial waters.
Iran has repeatedly warned that any act of transgression into Iran’s territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.
In recent years, Iran’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers. It has also conducted major drills to enhance its defense capabilities.