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Iranian surveillance drone flies over U.S. aircraft carrier in Persian Gulf

Story highlights

  • An Iranian drone flew by both U.S. and French aircraft carriers
  • The Navy termed the incident 'abnormal and unprofessional'

Washington (CNN)Iran flew a drone over a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf recently, an incident the U.S. Navy calls "abnormal and unprofessional."

A statement from Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, said that on the morning of January 12, an Iranian drone flew toward both the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and the USS Harry S. Truman, both of which were operating in international waters in the gulf.
    A Navy helicopter launched from the Truman then determined that the unmanned aerial vehicle wasn't weaponized.
    "Because the UAV was unarmed and posed no risk to the carrier's flight operations (since it wasn't flying at the time), we determined that ... the Iranian UAV's actions posed no danger to the ship," Stephens said in his statement. "It was however, abnormal and unprofessional."
    Iran has broadcast video on local television that has been billed as capturing the incident.
    The Navy, however, is not confirming that the video is authentic. Navy officials said the video shows nothing that cannot already be seen on many maritime videos available on social media.
    Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported that in addition to the drone's surveillance mission, "a Qadir-class submarine belonging to the Iranian Navy was also deployed close to the US aircraft carrier with a mission to gather intelligence and capture video of the U.S. vessel's moves."
    The report claimed that "the Iranian submarine managed to take clear pictures of the aircraft carrier without catching the attention of the staff on board."
    The drone incident occurred on the same day that Iran seized 10 American sailors whose boats had strayed into Iranian waters. The sailors were released the next day.