EghtesadOnline: Iran has protested to the United Nations over a violation of its airspace by a US drone, saying that it "does not seek war" but will exercise its right to self-defense against any hostile, provocative act.
Iranian forces on Thursday shot down a US RQ-4 Global Hawk drone that had entered the country's airspace in the south. Tehran said the unmanned surveillance aircraft was on a spy mission over its territory, but Washington claimed that it was targeted in international airspace in "an unprovoked attack".
In letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council on Thursday, Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi called the US "provocative act" a "blatant violation of international law" and the UN Charter, AP reported.
"While the Islamic Republic of Iran does not seek war, it reserves its inherent right, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to take all appropriate, necessary measures against any hostile act violating its territory and is determined to vigorously defend its land, sea and air."
According to Financial Tribune, he said the drone entered Iranian airspace despite repeated radio warnings after conducting "an overflight through the Strait of Hormuz to Chabahar Port in a full stealth mode, as it had turned off its identification equipment and engaged in a clear spying operation".
The envoy urged the international community to demand that the United States put an end to its "continued unlawful and destabilizing measures in the already volatile region of the Persian Gulf".
Following the incident, the UN secretary-general urged all parties to "exercise maximum restraint" and avoid any further escalation.
UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday that Guterres is "very concerned" and is calling on the parties to "avoid any action that could inflame the situation."
Iran also protested to the Swiss envoy in Tehran as the representative of US interests over the violation of its airspace by the American drone.
"There is undeniable evidence that the drone was in Iran's airspace and even parts of it were found in Iran's territorial waters," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the envoy in a phone call, the ministry's website reported on Friday.
Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Thursday that the US military drone shot down by Tehran had taken off from the UAE.
"At 00:14, US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59'43"N 57°02'25"E) near Kouh-e Mobarak. We've retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down," he said on Twitter.
In an earlier tweet, the top diplomat said, "The US wages #EconomicTerrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us & now encroaches on our territory. We don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters."
US President Donald Trump played down the incident on Thursday, saying he suspected it was shot by mistake and "it would have made a big difference" to him had the remotely controlled aircraft been piloted.
"I think probably Iran made a mistake," Trump told reporters at the White House, Reuters reported.
While the comments appeared to suggest Trump was not eager to escalate the latest in a series of incidents with Iran, the New York Times reported that the US leader approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing the American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night.
The US Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday issued an emergency order prohibiting US operators from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman due to heightened tensions.