Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on July 23 denied that it shot down an unmanned US spy plane over a uranium enrichment site, saying that its air defences had only hit a test target. The statement carried on the official IRNA news agency was in response to a claim earlier this week by Iranian lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari, who said the US drone was shot down as it was flying over the Fordo facility near the city of Qom in central Iran. He claimed that the drone was trying to gather information on the underground site. “What caused the spread of the news was related to the hitting of a test air target by the Guard’s air defence unit in the general region of Qom province,” IRNA quoted the statement as saying.
The Guard, the country’s most powerful military force, claimed that US spy planes are unable to penetrate Iran’s air space. Iran is locked in a dispute with the US and its allies over Tehran’s disputed atomic program, which the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity and producing isotopes to treat medical patients.