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Downed US drone: How Iran caught the 'beast'

Iran's apparent capture of a largely intact RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone, which was reportedly monitoring Iran's nuclear program, is a significant loss for the US.

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This photo released on Dec. 8, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show the chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh (l.) listening to an unidentified colonel as he points to US RQ-170 Sentinel drone.

Sepahnews/AP

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Iran is pushing the propaganda advantage after showing it captured an intact US stealth drone on a spying mission 140 miles inside Iran.

Hours after Iran state TV displayed the cream-colored American bat-wing RQ-170 "Sentinel" drone – its undercarriage hidden by banners of a US flag, with stars replaced by skulls and marked with anti-US slogans – Iranian officials said the spy craft was proof of enduring US hostility toward Iran.

"Iran will target all US military bases around the world," in case of further violations, warned conservative lawmaker Mohammad Kossari today. Iran's response would be "terrifying."

US officials confirmed with "high confidence" that the drone displayed by Iran is almost certainly the one reported lost last by US forces in Afghanistan last week. It was on an intelligence mission to hunt evidence in Iran of nuclear weapons work.

Despite those and other intelligence-gathering efforts – which are reported to include even surreptitiously installing radiation detectors at suspect sites in Tehran – the drone flights have apparently not yielded new evidence that would change conclusions by the United States and the United Nations that Iran stopped systematic nuclear weapons-related work in 2003.

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