MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian Revolutionary Guard elite military forces claim to have downed an Israeli spy drone that was was flying in the direction of the Natanz nuclear facility, which is Iran’s main uranium enrichment site, state news agency ISNA reported Sunday.
"Major parts of the devices of the drone are intact and have been received by our friends that can be used for further information," Gen. Ramazan Sharif, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guard, was quoted by The Associated Press as having told Iranian state television.
"The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limit nuclear area in Natanz... but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area," ISNA quoted a statement by the Revolutionary Guards.
The Revolutionary Guard said it fired the missile as the stealth drone approached an area about 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of Iran’s capital Tehran. The aircraft was allowed to fly for a short time to determine its destination before it was attacked, according to them.
The statement did not say when the drone was brought down, or how the Guards determined that it belonged to Israel, but stressed that the incident revealed “the adventurist nature of the Zionist regime [of Israel] and added another black page to this fake and warmongering regime's file which is full of crimes.”
Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran's uranium enrichment sites, saying that the country is developing nuclear weapons that it intends to use in attacks on the Jewish state.
The Natanz site is widely seen as Iran’s central facility for uranium enrichment.
In 2011, Iran shot down a US drone RQ-170 near the city of Kashmar.
Earlier this year, Tehran unveiled a copy of the downed American drone at a military aerospace exhibition. According to Iranian officials, the copy is equipped with advanced data collection, video and radar systems.
In November 2013 Iran and the P5+1 group of nations ¬– Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States – reached a six-month interim agreement under which Iran suspended some of its nuclear activities in exchange for a partial lifting of international economic sanctions.
The deal was extended by four months in July, to last until November, to give the two sides more time for negotiations.
However, after 10 years of tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, the parties involved remain split on how much uranium enrichment Iran should be allowed to carry out.
The United States wants Tehran to cut its nuclear program by three-quarters.
Iran says it wants to expand uranium enrichment tenfold by 2021 to produce more fuel for its Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Israel opposes any agreement that would allow Iran to keep a part of its uranium enrichment program.