Two Iranian fighter jets fired on an unarmed US Air Force Predator drone last week, according to CNN.
The Pentagon claims the drone was in international airspace “east of Kuwait” and that it was performing “routine maritime surveillance.”
The claim that the drone was in international airspace cannot be confirmed, but it is dubious considering the difficulty Iran would have of firing on a small drone far from its own territory.
The claim that the unarmed Predator drone was engaged in “routine maritime surveillance” is also very dubious. First of all, just because it was “routine” has no bearing on whether its activity could justly be seen as hostile.
And if it was routine, and the Pentagon has nothing to hide, then the surveillance mission should not have been classified, as it was.
News of the Obama administration’s drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan have been publicized internationally for years. That the Iranians were just supposed to presume the drone was unarmed, or surveilling the Gulf instead of the Iranian territory, is absurd.
If the situation had been reversed, and an identifiably Iranian drone was hovering over US airspace, or even off the coast, Washington undoubtedly would have reacted far more aggressively than Iran’s apparent warning shots that missed the US drone.