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Head of Leader's Office: Downed Drone Displays High Level of Iran's Deterrent Power.

Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Supreme Leader's Office Hojatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani praised Iran's Armed Forces for downing a US stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA, and said it displayed the high level of Tehran's deterrence power.

"Bringing down the US spy drone was a great move and a sign of the deterrence capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces," Mohammadi Golpayegani said on Wednesday.

He underlined the high capabilities and power of the Iranian Armed Forces in foiling enemies' plots and parrying possible aggressions, and said, "The westerners themselves have even admitted that the downing of the US drone was a big move since the electronic systems of this kind of aircraft is impenetrable."

US officials had earlier admitted the unmanned surveillance plane lost by the United States in Iran was a stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA.

The officials said Iran's military appears to be in possession of one of the more sensitive surveillance platforms in the CIA's fleet, an aircraft that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.

The mission of the downed drone has remained unclear. The RQ-170 has been used by the CIA for highly sensitive missions into other nations' airspace, including months of surveillance of the compound in Pakistan in which Osama bin Laden was hiding before he was killed in a May raid by Special Operations forces.

The disclosure that the drone recovered by Iran was being flown by the CIA comes after previous signals from US officials that had created the impression that the plane was being flown by the US military on a more mundane mission over Afghanistan and had simply strayed into Iranian territory.

Iran announced on Sunday that its defense forces downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyber attack.

The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations' air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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Publication:FARS News Agency
Date:Dec 7, 2011
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