By Andrew Hucks |Staff Writer|
Iranian SU-52 fighter jets fired at an unmanned US MQ-1 predator drone over the Persian Gulf on November 1st, missing with both burst from their cannons.
There are conflicting stories from the Pentagon and Iranian officials as to whether the US drone was in international airspace or within Iranian jurisdiction, though the Washington Post claims that the drone was “very close to the Iranian coast.”
When asked whether the shots were deliberate and intended to hit the aircraft by CNN, a U.S. official said “It doesn’t matter, they fired on us.”
Whatever the case may be, the tension between the U.S./Israel and Iran is thicker than its ever been before with the economic sanctions in place due to Iran’s continuation of their nuclear enrichment program.
The pentagon claims that the drone was conducting routine surveillance in international space and was unmanned.
“There is surveillance going on all over the world on every coast,” said United States Air Force Staff Srgt. Nick Edmington. “The only difference is that they don’t generally get shot at like that.”
The shooting comes on the heels of crippling economic sanctions by not only the US, but also the European Union (EU) because of Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons, which they deny, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
“[sanctions] are meant to persuade Iran to engage constructively by negotiating seriously and addressing the concerns of the international community,” according to the Council of the European Union web site. “They are not intended to hurt the people.”
But the sanctions have in fact hurt the people. According to BBC “earlier this month, riots broke out when Iran’s currency, the rial, plunged to new lows against the dollar, according to local currency exchange websites, having lost 80 percent of its value since the start of the year.”
According to the New York Times, the U.S. is worried about the Iranian military setting mines in the Straight of Hormuz. This would double its mine-sweeping vessels to eight.
The Pentagon claims that the UAV was simply doing surveillance of these waters to keep an eye in the sky watching for mines.
This encounter came nearly a year after a U.S. drone went down in Iran, which was the first time the U.S. acknowledged that one of their unmanned aircraft had fallen into enemy hands, according to the Washington Post.
“We shouldn’t even be over there,” says a Persian CSUSB student. “What would the U.S. do if an Iranian spy plane was off the coast of New York?”
But something similar has happened to the U.S. recently in fact. A Russian nuclear sub was detected 275 miles off the US coast just last month, according to now.msn.com, but we were informed that they were doing sweeps in the deep water of the Atlantic and no sort of exchange took place.
“Why didn’t we know about this right when it happened rather than two weeks after the fact,” said CSUSB student.
Without all of the information, it is hard to fully understand the circumstances, but had that drone got shot down, the call to action would have been answered swiftly, according to the Obama camp.