Tehran claims it received photographs of restricted Israeli areas from downed drone

Israel has dismissed Iran’s repeated assertions that UAV was able transmit pictures in real time

Israeli Army vehicles and helicopters are seen in an open area as they search for the remains of a drone in the Negev southern Israel on October 6, 2012. (photo credit: AP)
Israeli Army vehicles and helicopters are seen in an open area as they search for the remains of a drone in the Negev southern Israel on October 6, 2012. (photo credit: AP)

Iran has in its possession photographs of restricted Israeli military bases, thanks to the drone that Israel destroyed over the northern Negev in early October, an Iranian parliamentarian claimed Monday.

Defense committee chairman Esmail Kowsari said the drone, likely launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon, took pictures of sensitive areas before being shot down over the Yatir forest, Iran’s Mehr news reported, citing an interview with the Al-Alam news outlet.

Israeli officials have said the drone was rudimentary and could not transmit pictures in real time. The UAV was shot down after reportedly skirting Israel’s coast and moving inland over Gaza and southern Israel.

Iranians claim the drone was made with technology garnered from the downing of an American UAV over Iran last year, and could not only transmit pictures, but managed to fly over restricted airspace and photograph it.

“These aircraft transmit their pictures online, and right now we possess pictures of restricted areas,” Kowsari reportedly said.

On Sunday, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that the drone was not the most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle that Iran possesses.

The claim was dismissed by Jerusalem.

Brig. Gen. (res) Asaf Agmon, the managing director of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, said that Iran could not have developed any new technology based on the downed American Sentinel UAV.

“There is no connection whatsoever between what fell over there and the technology they possess,” he said. “The two are as distant as east and west.”

Agmon, a former pilot and base commander, characterized Iran’s current UAV technology as on par “with the technology that existed during the late 1980s, at best.”

He dismissed out of hand the notion the notion that the UAV that penetrated Israeli airspace on October 6 had, as claimed, been able to send footage back to its senders.

“They didn’t get anything out of it. No information,” he said, noting that its flight course was determined in advance by a list of coordinates.

Other Israeli officials have also said the drone was too rudimentary to collect any intelligence unavailable on the Internet.

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