'A general', 'operators' could be behind US intrusion: Iran
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'A general', 'operators' could be behind US intrusion: Iran

The IRGC shot down a US surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz after it did not heed four warning signals, even as the force spared a second spy plane carrying 35 passengers which accompanied the downed aircraft.  "It may be that the violation by the Americans has been carried out by a general or several operators," head of the IRGC’s aerospace division General Amirali Hajizadeh said on Saturday.  "We are not aware of this issue, but this is a violation of the international aviation regulations by a spy plane that faced our natural response," he told state news agency IRNA.  "Our response to the invasion of the Iranian space is such, and if the aggression is repeated, our response will also be repeated," General Hajizadeh added. US President Donald Trump initially issued a series of cataclysmic threats, insisting that the RQ-4 Global Hawk was flying over international waters when it was taken down by an Iranian missile. However, the GPS coordinates released by Iran put the drone eight miles off the country’s coast, inside the 12 nautical miles from the shore, which is Iran's territorial waters.   On Friday, Trump claimed he aborted a military strike on Iran because it could have killed 150 people, but many analysts believe the announcement was a face-saving move vis-a-vis a determined Tehran.   "It's hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth," Trump said, adding it could have been carried out by someone who was acting "loose and stupid," and minimizing the incident as "a new wrinkle ... a new fly in the ointment." General Hajizadeh said, "We, in the Armed Forces, and the nation of the Islamic Iran do not welcome war, but we are ready to go full length to defend the country." "The actions of Americans were contrary to international rules and practices, and we also acted on the basis of our legal duty," he added. Iran said the IRGC shot down the US drone with a Khordad 3 missile defense system, which can detect and track targets 95 miles away and down them at a distance of 30 miles. The system can target enemy aircraft flying as high as 81,000 feet, or roughly 15 miles. On Friday, the IRGC showed retrieved sections of the US military drone. General Hajizadeh said Iran did not need to reverse-engineer the aircraft.  "We have a collection of American drones, and this is another evidence of the American air incursion into Iran's sky, which shows that they [US] do not want to pay attention to international regulations." Hajizadeh said Iran is self-sufficient in manufacturing the defense equipment it needs.  "Nobody provides us with any defense equipment, including missiles and defense systems. Hence, we provide all the equipment we need self-sufficiently," he said.  "For example, the advanced American spy aircraft, which recently violated the territorial space of Iran, was targeted by an all-Iranian system," he added. 'Fire to interests of US, allies' Another Iranian general warned the United States that any aggression against the Islamic Republic would have serious consequences for US interests across the Middle East. "Firing one bullet towards Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies," Armed Forces General Staff spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said. "Today, the situation in the region is to Iran's advantage. "If the enemy -- especially America and its allies in the region -- make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America's interests lie, the region will be set on fire," Shekarchi warned.

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