UPDATE: The footage first appeared online as early as 2006.
Mashregh, the media outlet of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, put up 8-year-old footage two weeks ago of a near confrontation with U.S. fighter jets as an unmanned aerial vehicle carried out a reconnaissance operation over a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
The media outlet, boasting about the Islamic regime’s power and how it could get close to U.S. naval forces in the region, said Iran has the capability to harm U.S. forces once the order is given.
The near-decade-old operation, according to Guards commanders, lasted 30 minutes and ended only after the carrier became aware of the drone and dispatched F18s to confront it, Mashregh said, which added that the drone returned safely to base.
Masshregh claimed that this operation was one of many that have been going on for a long time in monitoring U.S. forces in the region and emphasized that the regime can attack those forces if need be. Mashregh also posted images of previous reconnaissance of the USS George H.W. Bush.
The video clearly shows the reconnaissance of the carrier and even shows the F18s taking off to confront it. The drone flew over the carrier for more than two minutes before it was confronted.
The Revolutionary Guards have longed focused on the production of drones to use for reconnaissance, electronic warfare and identifying targets. The Guards in 2010 unveiled an armed drone called the “ambassador of death” that can carry up to four cruise missiles with a reported range of 620 miles to “keep the enemy paralyzed in its bases.”
The Islamic regime shares its technology with its allies, including Syria and the terrorist group Hezbollah, and it’s believed Hezbollah has a fleet of 200 Iranian-made UAVs — some of which were shot down over Israel on reconnaissance missions.
The Guards’ naval commander, Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, boasted to his forces last week that the country controls the security of the energy in the region. “Our reconnaissance ability and operation capability today have caused fear in the foreign forces in the Persian Gulf,” he said.
Another commander, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Guards’ air and space division, had previously stated that no power in the world has the ability to confront the Islamic regime.
As revealed Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, along with Guard commanders, openly threatened to retaliate against the West should Iran be attacked.
The Guards in 2011 captured a U.S. stealth drone, the RQ-170, and not only refused to return it when President Obama asked Iran to do so, but reports indicate that information on the drone was shared with the Russians. The Guards also claimed that through reverse engineering, it will soon produce a new line of drones based on the RQ-170 design.
Gen. Haijizadeh, who announced the decoding of the drone, said at the time: “Some [Guards officers] believed that America would send its commando unit to destroy [the drone] while others were of the opinion that the U.S. would not risk having its forces get caught by us, creating a bigger problem for themselves, and that they might just do an air raid to destroy it. We gave it a 10 to 15 percent chance on the air raid, and because of that we ordered an alert at all our missile bases to be ready to launch against all U.S. bases [in the region] if they did take any action.”
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).