Iran Releases Footage Allegedly Extracted From US Drone

Iran has claimed that it has decoded and released footage on state television allegedly extracted from a CIA drone captured in 2011.

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Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iran has claimed that it has decoded and released footage on state television allegedly extracted from a CIA drone captured in 2011 after it entered Iranian airspace near the Afghan-Iran border.

The black and white video, which Iran claims was taken from an RQ-170 spy plane, shows an aerial view of an airport and a city, said to be a U.S. base in Afghanistan.

The footage was aired by Iranian news agencies and uploaded to YouTube.

"This aircraft has carried out many operations in the countries around Iran," said a man, identified by Iranian media as Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who narrates parts of the video. "In the operations taken place in Pakistan, this aircraft guided many of the clashes ..."

Iran had said that it downed the drone on on December 4, 2011 near Kashmar in the country's northeast, some 140 miles (225 kilometers) from the border with Afghanistan.

At the time, American officials acknowledged that the drone went missing.

"We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," President Barack Obama said at the time.

Iran, however, refused and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.

"We were able to definitively access the data of the drone, once we brought it down,"  Hajizadeh says in the video, adding that Iran realized it "belongs to the CIA."

Iran has claimed it has captured several American drones over the past months, as tensions between the two countries continue to escalate over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The news comes following tightened sanctions announced by Treasury Department on Iran and institutions that Washington says are restricting political dissent, monitoring Internet activity and censoring speech.

Under American sanctions laws, any United States property held by blacklisted companies and individuals is impounded, and they are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with American citizens.

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday rejected an offer by Vice President Joe Biden to engage in direct negotiations with United States over its nuclear program.

"Some naive people like the idea of negotiating with America, however, negotiations will not solve the problems," Khamenei said.

"Some rejoice at the offer of negotiations ... [but] negotiations will not solve anything," AFP quoted Khamenei as saying.

"If some people want American rule to be established again in Iran, the nation will rise up to face them," he said.