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Azeri Drone Shot Down by Iran Was Spying on Secret Nuclear Site

Yesterday, I reported about an Azeri drone manufactured by Israel which Iran shot down.  The Iranians claimed it was shot down over Natanz.  That would be a distance of 600 miles from Azerbaijan.  The Hermes 450 drone which Iran downed has a range of 180 miles.  So it’s unlikely it was anywhere near Natanz (as a commenter pointed out in the comment thread yesterday) when it crashed.

My Israeli source tells me that the site the drone was spying on was a secret site much closer to the Azeri border (probably no more than 180 miles from it).  I do not yet know the location or nature of the site.  But it appears to be one Israel believes is connected to the nuclear program, and not one that is publicly known such as the plants at Natanz, Bushehr and Arak.

What’s interesting about this story is that Israel is tight-lipped because shooting down its drone is bad for military export business and also complicates U.S.-led efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.  Iran has disseminated false information about the downing because it doesn’t want the world to get any closer to identifying this secret site.  But from Israel’s point of view, any development (even shooting down one of its drones) that brings this site any closer to exposure would be a good thing because it would embarrass the Iranians.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Oui August 27, 2014, 12:11 AM

    More info from Kuwait Times

    … Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said in a statement Sunday its forces fired a missile as the drone neared Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, some 240 km south of the capital, Tehran, without elaborating.

    … Hajizadeh said Tehran will “accelerate” arming Palestinians in retaliation. Iran, which does not recognise the existence of Israel, has confirmed it supplied Palestinian fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with the technology for the rockets being fired relentlessly into Israel from Gaza since July 8.

    … Hajizadeh said the drone’s range was about 800 km and that it had two front and side cameras capable of providing high-resolution panoramic imaging.

    … “We need credible information, and so far we don’t have credible information,” said Theodore Karasik, a security and political affairs analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. He noted the timing of the announcement, given that hardline elements within Iran want to see nuclear talks with world powers fail and could try to score additional points by embarrassing Israel.

    … Asghar Zarean, the deputy head of Iran’s atomic department, told the semi-official ISNA news agency that malware discovered over the past month had targeted a nuclear facility that went online over the weekend. He likely was referring to the plant in the central city of Isfahan inaugurated Saturday.

    Interesting article with four political arguments of UAV story – Persian news source.

  • Hmmm, it opens up all sorts of possibilities August 27, 2014, 3:58 AM

    Richard: “Iran has disseminated false information about the downing because”…..

    Hmmm, once you consider “Iranian dissemination” then the possibilities are actually limitless.

    As in…. it is indeed true that the Hermes 450 drone can’t reach Natanz from Azerbaijan, and from that you infer that the Iranians are “disseminating” when they claimed they downed a drone near Natanz.

    But maybe that’s not the case: maybe they downed an IAI Heron drone (which *can* reach Natanz from Azerbaijan) and the “dissemination” comes from them deliberately playing dumb about it being a Hermes 450.

    After all, it has been pointed out that the wreckage shown on TV doesn’t match a Hermes 450 (nor a Heron, for that matter).

    But that “proves” little, because that video may simply have been “stock footage” pulled from the archives just to give PressTv SOMETHING to show onscreen.

    It’s possible. Heck, it’s even possible that nothing was actually shot down, and the Iranians are making all of it up.

    Maybe. Maybe not.

    But don’t go basing your conclusions on the “knowledge” that the shot down a Hermes 450, because that’s not necessarily true.

    And, let’s face it, the Azerbaijan air force does have five IAI Heron drones….. or is that now four IAI Heron drones…

  • The Rahnameh August 27, 2014, 12:17 PM

    [comment deleted: gratuitous insults aren't acceptable forms of discourse here.]

    • The Rahnameh August 29, 2014, 7:08 AM

      The Iranians made clear that they watched the drone for a bit to see what it would do and then decided to pull the trigger. The rest are war games. Iran doesn’t have to telegraph its punches. All Iran has to do is signal to the perp that the jig is up and that it couldn’t even be considered a jig in the first place because Iran is 80x plus the size of all of stolen and occupied Palestine. Israel was almost defeated by a medium sized forest fire and needed Egypt, Jordan, the PA to save it in 2010. In 2006, it was repelled easily by Hezbollah, who now has more experience than before.

      When it comes to targets: Israel only has a success rate when it commits genocide against women and children or other civilian targets a la false flags.

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