Iran: We’re Building a Copy of the Captured US Drone

Back in December, after a US drone went down in Iran, President Obama said “we’ve asked for it back — we’ll see how they respond.”

Obama forgot to say “pretty please,” because Iran still has the drone and claims to be almost finished decoding it and also trying to build a copy for themselves:

Iran claimed Sunday that it had recovered data from an American spy drone that went down in Iran last year, including information that the aircraft was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. Iran also said it was building a copy of the drone.

Similar unmanned surveillance planes have been used in Afghanistan for years and kept watch on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. But U.S. officials have said little about the history of the particular aircraft now in Iran’s possession.

Tehran, which has also been known to exaggerate its military and technological prowess, says it brought down the RQ-170 Sentinel, a top-secret drone equipped with stealth technology, and has flaunted the capture as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the United States.

After the drone went down in Iran, options to prevent the drone from falling into Iranian hands included sending in a special-ops team to retrieve it or blow it up, or launching an airstrike to destroy it. President Gutsy Call didn’t employ any of those options, much to the dismay of Dick Cheney.

What Iran could do with the technology is questionable:

A former intelligence official told Fox News it’s unlikely the Iranians could figure out how to recreate the drone, and that the pressing concern would be to try to use the technology to bargain with the Chinese or the Russians.

While China does not necessarily have the technology to help significantly advance Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for access to drone parts, China could offer Iran an IOU of sorts — for a favor like a veto at the U.N. Security Council, the former official said.

The Russians would also be interested in any U.S. intelligence collection capability, and could offer Iran ballistics technology useful for a nuclear delivery system.

I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

Early indications are that Iran is in fact having trouble replicating the technology, as this photo of Tehran’s first test flight of their copy of the captured US surveillance drone seems to confirm:

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Update: Dennis Miller: By “copy” the drone, Iran means they’re going to trace it.