Iran appeals to the U.N. on downed drone, calls surveillance an "act of provocation"

The alleged U.S drone brought down in Iran over the weekend, on Iranian state-run TV.
FARS news agency
Drone, Iran
The alleged U.S drone brought down in Iran over the weekend, on Iranian state-run TV.
FARS news agency

As state-run TV in Tehran broadcast images of a RQ-170 Sentinel drone and U.S. officials acknowledged that is it likely to belong to the U.S., Iran's U.N. Ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee sent a letter to the Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly and the Russian President (this month) of the Security Council, calling their attention to the increased "provocative and covert operations against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the United States Government."

"Recently," Iran's U.N. Ambassador wrote, in the letter obtained by CBS News, "an American RQ-170 unmanned spy plane, bearing a specific serial number, violated Iran 's air space," alleging that the drone was 250 kilometers over Iran, near the city of Tabas in the north.

Giving the Iranian state version of how the sophisticated spy plane came down practically unscathed, the letter said that the drone, "faced prompt and forceful action by the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

U.S. official: Iran does have our drone

The Iranian government, stung by a recent General Assembly Resolution, passed in mid-November, which condemned the alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington and called on Iran to cooperate in the investigation, and smarting from a recent report casting doubt about Iran's nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency, reacted swiftly at the U.N.

" My Government emphasizes that this blatant and unprovoked air violation by the United States Government is tantamount to an act of hostility against the Islamic Republic of Iran in clear contravention of international law, in particular, the basic tenets of the United Nations Charter," Khazaee wrote. "The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its legitimate rights to take all necessary measures to protect its national sovereignty."

Calling for U.N. action, he said the Iran "calls for the condemnation of such acts of aggression and requests for clear and effective measures to be taken to put an end to these dangerous and unlawful acts in line with the United Nations' responsibilities to maintain international and regional peace and security."

  • Pamela Falk

    Pamela Falk is CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst and an international lawyer, based at the United Nations.