Iran says 'thanks for asking but we will keep the drone'
December 13th, 2011
10:34 AM ET

Iran says 'thanks for asking but we will keep the drone'

By Adam Levine

Despite President Obama asking, it is hardly surprising that Iran is not rushing to return the downed U.S. drone.

On Monday, in the first open admission by an American official that the drone on Iranian television was indeed the U.S. drone, President Obama said a request to return the drone had been made.

"We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said.

Well, the response appears to be, unsurprisingly, 'thanks, but no thanks.'

Iran is making the most of the capture, judging from comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who spoke to Venezuelan state television on Tuesday.

"The North Americans at best have decided to give us this spy plane," Ahmadinejad said. "In the unpiloted planes, we have had many advances, much progress and now we have this spy plane."

Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said the drone no longer belongs to Washington.

"The U.S. spy plane is among the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Vahidi told reporters Tuesday, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency. "Our country will decide what to do with it."

The United States owes Iran an apology and needs to admit its crime, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday, the Iranian Students' News Agency report.

"The U.S. should know that what it did regarding violation of our air space can put international peace and security in danger," he said. "The U.S. should take responsibility for the consequences of the measure."

But the big question is whether the Iranians can benefit beyond propoganda and actually gain technologically from reverse engineering the drone.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did not seem convinced they would be able to but he was not ruling it out.

"It’s a little difficult to know just frankly how much they are going to be able to get from having obtained those parts. I don’t know the condition of those parts, I don’t know exactly what state they’re in," Panetta told reporters traveling with him en route to Djibouti.  "So it’s a little difficult to tell what they are going to be able to derive from what they have bene able to get.”

Panetta said that while nobody expected the drone would be returned, the U.S. had to ask.

"Obviously our request for the return of the drone is an appropriate request that they give it back to us. I don’t expect that that will happen, but I think it’s important to make that request," Panetta said.

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Filed under: Ahmadinejad • CIA • Diplomacy • drones • Iran • Military • Panetta
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Bilel

    About the only thing Obama will do is turn tail and run.. appeasment will not work with the tteorrisrs. The only thing that works against terrorism is the sword!A little piece I wrote today.. small quote here:{{ Ronald Reagan was a great example of the hawk. He refused to let the Soviet Union off the hook and as a result communism in Russia and Europe collapsed. Now fast forward to the Obama Presidency and we have “the appeasers” coming out of the woodwork telling the Prez we have to negotiate — we have to learn to find some way to peacefully coexist with the “terrorists.” }} FAT CHANCE that will work.. please show me any time in history where negotiation and appeasment has worked with the backward thinking Muslim killing in the name of Allah.

    May 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  2. lol

    yea....id say just bomb the drone...wherever it is. send them a message, if you dont return out drone in one hour, we will drop a bomb on it. nuffsaid.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  3. vermilionskin

    Send Tom Cruise to bring it back.

    December 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  4. Adam

    LOL the Iranians must have died of laughter when they heard Obama's request to return the drone.

    December 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  5. Jason

    That drone was just trying to spread the seeds of democracy.

    December 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  6. Muslim

    U.S. is fighting all their wars for Israel. Only Israel has benefited from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. If you look at Muslim countries, they all have been devastated after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, except for Saudi Arabia which is a close ally of U.S. and Israel. Another thing to note is that all the 9/11 terrorist attacks were Saudis, none were Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistani, or Afghan so why are you destroying these countries, because Israel sees these countries as threats. Time to take back your country from the cunning zionists. Bring back the good old USA of John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagen that was loved by the world. Today USA is the most hated country in the world because of its zionist policies.

    December 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  7. CW

    Attention all U.S.A Haters residing here...leave immediately for your sacred homeland(s) and take all of your relatives while you're at it.

    We do not want you here and it appears you do not like our government, policies, etc.

    So GO AWAY...YOU WILL NOT BE MISSED!!

    December 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • Muslim

      We'll leave when you give back this land to the Native Americans and you go back to England, Ireland, or wherever the hell your forefathers came from.

      December 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Jason

      So you enjoy the policies of our federal government? Okie dokie, Hitler.

      December 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • NotYou

      The arrogance, say Iran flew a spy drone into US air space, was downed, then Iran demanded it back. The calls to violence would already be beating as the US would declare it was an act of war and the American people would quickly get in line. The US has been salivating to invade Iran for quite some time quite openly "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb iran" all that oil, if you were Iran, wouldn't you want "the bomb" be irrational to not.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  8. Nick

    When so many people lives at at stake.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  9. Nick

    This is Terrable. You see why I don't have faith in Oboma!! Lies lies lies..

    December 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  10. Randall

    Im sorry but the u.s is in the wrong once more in a long list of wrong's and nothing good can come from this or any of our other actions

    December 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Dick

      A defeatist response.

      December 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • rick

      your naivete is astounding. every country has an intelligence service and keeps tabs,i.e "spies" on every other country especially potential enemies. would you have it any other way?

      December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  11. Dick

    Bomb the site. Send a message. And then announce that same will happen if the pursue nukes. Simple, but effective.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  12. lawrence

    I think
    1. The drone might be a high tech Trojan Horse. Every Iranian computer that's connected to the drone will be viral infected.
    2. The bucks for Dronegate should stop at Obama. He should read Watergate story to know that Nixon said "I am not a crook.", he never asked for the microphones to be returned then he resigned.
    So Obama should not ask for the drone to be returned. He should say "we are not crooks", resigns to let the Trojan Horse do its work.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  13. Zster

    In a perfect world we wouldn't have a need for spying. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world so spying is a necessary evil.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • NotYou

      In a slightly better world we would not be at the mercy of big oil.

      December 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  14. CW

    Attention all US Haters residing here...leave immediately for your sacred homeland(s) and take all of your relatives while you're at it.

    We do not want you here and it appears you do not like our government, policies, etc.

    So GO AWAY...YOU WILL NOT BE MISSED!!

    December 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  15. dan

    No,no,no, People. This was planned. Someone from one of our government agencies, did this. This type of thing has gone on in the past. Planned, alright.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  16. B

    How many times do we have to go though this business of risking extremely high technology in very stupid ways?

    Perhaps when eventually everyone has the same technology we will try Diplomacy and see if that is less expensive over the long run..

    December 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • NotYou

      Sadly the US also has a long history of using violence as a preferred option either directly or by proxy.

      December 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  17. logital

    Send in a Drone for a Drone!!

    December 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • NotYou

      Who the pentagon? DoD? Unnamed high ranking government officials? Sorry but they have a long track record of lying they simply are not a credible source of information.

      December 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  18. NotYou

    Wow, that's rich the US violates Iran's air space for the purpose of spying, a violation of international law, then has the balls to demand it back?!

    December 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • Chrshigf

      From what I read about the situation it wasn't in Iran airspace. It was in Afghan airspace on border to Iran when it lost control and crashed on Iran side of border. So no it wasn't violating airspace, It was just an unfortunate direction it took when the US didn't control it anymore

      December 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • NotYou

        Who the pentagon? DoD? Unnamed high ranking government officials? Sorry but they have a long track record of lying they have no creditability.

        December 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
      • shawn

        The drone crashed 155 miles inside iran's airspace. And the CIA later confirmed they were conducting surveillance missions in Iran when they lost control of the drone.

        December 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • Sebastian

        If you are not invading airspace, why using a drone instead of a regular plane? It was obviously in Iranian territory. Let's see if the government cut the crap and gives diplomacy a try.

        December 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • Chrshigf

        That is very interesting then. Doesn't strike me as something out of the ordinary though since the same thing happened with spy planes over what was the USSR. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying it's ok because they did it before, but rather an unfortunate thing that countries have to take a part in. I guarantee you that the US isn't the only one using spys for intel. Its just the US is one of the few using spy drones

        December 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Dick

      Iran is our enemy. At the very least we should bomb the site where the drone is located. Send a message don't touch our stuff.

      December 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • al hamdan

        Dick, please man do you know anything else other than lets bomb them , lets nuke them , lets kick them out of the country, lets lets and lets . why cant we just leave them alone and worry about our problems ?

        December 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
      • NotYou

        Iran is our enemy why is Iran our enemy? Oh right. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

        December 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  19. jsmoulder

    Locate, and destroy.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  20. Furthermore

    Now I have to ask...we use these things to assasinate people, bombs can be blown remotely from anywhere in the world and people half a world away maneuver these things but it cannot blow itself up? Was there a slight miscalculation or over confidence here OR did we not go for that upgrade package becasue we went for the leather wrapped steering wheel in a GM Cutlass. Then again, GM can build a Volt that self destructs without anyone having to tell it too. Sooooooo...what goes?

    December 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • WC

      "Lost control"

      December 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  21. Jahab

    (Just As Has Always Been) Finders keepers losers weepers. So, what about this story goes against that rule. The loser always wants his toy back after he has not taken proper care of it. I mean...it didn;t just fall out of our pocket as we were walking down the street or anything like that. I can see it now..."Uh ohhhh....uh....uhhhhh...sir...sir....I think the battery in my hand controller just went dead." Was this Nintend0, PS3 or xBox? What is the warranty? hahahah 🙂

    December 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  22. Mark

    Obama: "sooo..can we have it back it's got loads of intel on where we want to bomb in iran next September. also we wanna make sure that you can't electronically bring down or take control of one of our stealth drones"
    Iran: "don't worry it will be displayed on Walmart shelves in time for Christmas and then everybody can have one"

    December 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  23. DANISH ALI AHMAD

    OK so its them who are creating problem again by not giving the "UAV" back to US so that we can do it again. What about the violation that US committed? who will talk about it? no one seems to ask, if in retaliation iranians have had hit some US interest, and some US lives could be lost in truns make the whole region unstable and bring us to the third war for the sake of israel. who gave the permission to spy and use drone??

    December 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • rick

      a completely irrelevant jab at israel in this post but consistent with the Palestinian Mantra: " the West, the US, the UK, Israel, the Jews, the zionists etc. are all picking on Iran and the Palestinians and the Muslims who only send rockets and suicide bombers and kill over cartoons in Denmark because of insults in the form of cartoons.

      December 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  24. ricardo

    The U.S. has no right to invade the airspace of another country. Congratulations to Iran for being able to intercept this plane, it now belongs to them.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  25. Linoge

    This drone looks like it's from the future of the 80's. You sure we didn't give them an old one just to mess with their heads?

    December 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  26. ranger 830

    Have no fear plenty more where that one came from!!!! My question is if it was "Downed", Why is it so intact! Why was there not a recovery op launched or an air strike called in to terminate what was left? Either way the iranian propaganda train will be rolling full steam ahead! Pres. AMADINGLEBERRY is in full on rehetoric mode! He is so fun to watch ranting and raving about the Zionist Infadels HEE HEE!!!!!

    December 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • durundal

      I wonder if it would be considered an act of war to go and invade airspace to bomb a section of another country because we had equipment failure. Seems like a bit of the r e t a r d e d cowboy mentality that could get us in trouble

      December 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
      • NotYou

        Perhaps this incident was not so much an accident. Remember that utterly ridiculous Iranian assassin plot of Saudi's in DC using Mexican drug cartels? Even more laughable then the old Nigerian yellow cake uranium.

        December 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  27. god

    then we should go to war!
    because lets face it they stole are property

    December 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • supersix4

      Nice comment you retard, tipical american rhetoric. If the US decides to deliver "freedom" to another country in the middle east, will you be going there? Didnt think so. Maybe the US should just mind its own buisness for a change, then everyone in the rest of the world wouldnt despise americans so much. You meatballs should maybe just concentrate on un%$@#ing your economy. Losers the lot of ya.

      December 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
      • NotYou

        Well we would bring freedom to Iran because they have the third largest oil reserves, the US doesn't care about middle east counties that do not have oil, they just need to keep them "stable' as not to "destabilize" oil rich countries.

        December 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Tek

        Nice insult there, yet kind of ironic... You call someone a retard, then FAIL at spelling.

        The guy you are replying to is a troll, just looking to get the kind of response that you gave.

        But then to bash an entire country because of one person's idiotic posts? Seriously????

        December 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • rick

        its obvious from your post that you would love to live in the US. Your envy is palatable. too bad you are where you are

        December 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
      • G

        Know what's funny? He's insulting the US from a country they probably A) Beat in either WWI or WWII or B) A country who had their asses saved by the 'evil Americans' in some war.

        December 14, 2011 at 9:28 am |
      • NotYou

        Yes I am sure that is what it is, brilliant observation....

        December 14, 2011 at 9:30 am |
      • NotYou

        May I ask what exactly what countries in which the US rode to the rescue and saved their ass? I can't think of one in the last 50 years unless saving their asses is now a euphemism for relied on brutal, repressive regimes–Iran under the Shah, Saudi Arabia, Israel–to do its dirty work. It has used the CIA to foment coups against "unfriendly" regimes. When necessary, it has intervened directly to punish regimes that have challenged its dominance in the region–as it did to Iraq in 1991. To this day, the U.S. spends billions annually to maintain a large military presence in the region. It provides billions in military hardware to client states, in particular to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel–which the U.S. carefully maintains as the region's most formidable military power. Such examples are excluded.

        December 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |

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