US Weighing Response to Iran UAV Flyby

US Weighing Response to Iran UAV FlybyUS Weighing Response to Iran UAV Flyby

The United States is considering how to respond to the Iranian Navy's move to fly a surveillance drone over a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf and publish video of the encounter on Friday, the White House spokesperson said.

At a daily news conference later in the day, a reporter asked about the White House possible response to the incident and if it sees it as a "provocative act", AP reported.

Josh Earnest said, "I refer you to the Department of Defense for an assessment of whether or not any significant risk was perceived in that action and they give you a sense of how worrisome something like this is.

"Obviously those who are on the frontlines here can best assess what sort of threat this posed to our men and women in uniform and what impact this had on their ability to conduct their mission and their regular operations in that region of the world.

"As for an assessment of that, I refer you to the Department of Defense. If they tell you they were not unnecessarily constrained by this activity then yes I think it would be fair for you to assume that White House wasn't concerned about it but you should check with the Department of Defense."

The US Navy said the drone was unarmed and the flyover did not interrupt US operations in the war against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

It follows an alleged rocket test last month by the Islamic Republic near coalition warships and commercial traffic, as well as Iran's brief capture of American sailors who strayed into its territorial waters.

Iranian media published an aerial footage shot by the drone, showing it being launched and then hovering over a US aircraft carrier.

Iranian reports suggested the footage was from Friday. However, Commander Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the US Navy's 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, said an unarmed Iranian drone flew near the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and "directly over" the USS Harry S. Truman on Jan. 12 as the vessels were in international waters in the Persian Gulf.

Stephens said the Navy launched a helicopter that determined the drone was not armed and "posed no danger to the ship" as the carrier was not conducting flight operations at the time. His comments implied that had there been active takeoffs and landings of US aircraft, the situation might have changed.

Stephens called the drone's flight "abnormal and unprofessional". He added that the US Navy was "not in a position to verify the authenticity of the video as there are countless examples of similar footage to be found on the Internet."