The Pentagon announced on Thursday that two Iranian warplanes fired at an unarmed U.S. drone flying over the Persian Gulf near Iran last week, reports the New York Times. A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle controlled autonomously or by remote control, and when the U.S. flew theirs over international airspace near Iran, the Iranian warplanes, SU-25 “Frogfoot” aircrafts, fired but missed.
The shooting happened on Nov. 1 and it is the first instance of Iranian warplanes firing at an American drone. George Little, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said at a Pentagon briefing that silence was kept for a week because of restrictions on the discussion of classified surveillance missions.
This particular incident raises concerns amid international tensions over the disputed Iranian nuclear program. Had the warplanes struck the drone like it seemingly intended to, it might of caused American retaliation.
When asked if the United States considered the shooting an “act of war”, Little said he was “not going to get into legal labels.” He added, “The reality is that we have a wide range of options, as I said before, to protect our assets and our forces in the region and will do so when necessary.”