The US navy said on Friday that an unarmed Iranian drone flew over a US aircraft carrier operating in international waters on the Gulf, in a move described as "abnormal and unprofessional.”
Iranian state TV said on Friday that a surveillance drone took “precise” pictures as it flew over the US aircraft, but it did not state when exactly the incident took place, except that it was the third day of naval exercise.
The incident was confirmed on Jan. 12 by a US Navy spokesman, when an unarmed Iranian drone flew over the USS Harry S. Truman. However it is not yet certain if the incident was the same as the one that Iranian media had reported.
The incident happened on the same day when the Iranian Army detained 10 US sailors, which Iran claimed had intervened the Iranian territorial waters mistakenly.
The US Navy spokeswoman, Lieutenant Commander, Nicole Schwegman, said that the drone initially flew toward the French carrier the Charles de Gaulle, and then flew directly over the USS Harry S. Truman. Both carriers were operating in international waters on the Gulf, according to Schwegman.
"The UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] was unarmed and posed no risk to the carrier's flight operations," Schwegman said. "While the Iranian UAV's actions posed no danger to the ship, it was, however, abnormal and unprofessional."
An Iranian state TV said that the commander of Iran's navy, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, said that the drone overflight is a sign of the Iranian navy’s "bravery, experience and the scientific capabilities of our drone operators."
The semi-official Fars news agency reported that an Iranian submarine was also deployed to the area on Friday. The submarine had taken pictures of the drone and the US carrier also.
This month the International sanctions against Iran, over its nuclear programme, were lifted. However, within a few days, the US imposed new sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile programme.