"These Sentinels are pretty rare technology still, and to have one in such good condition, to be lost to a potential adversary like this, is pretty significant, especially because Iran has open ties to Russia and has been courted by China," says Mr. Densmore.
"Strategically, the US will suffer from the loss of this because ... it has radar, a fuselage, and coating that makes it low-observable, and the electronics inside are also very high-tech," says Densmore. "Diplomatically, Iran is really looking for a way to save some face," after the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from London, and increased scrutiny of its nuclear program, adds Densmore. "They are really looking for something to say to the world, to change public opinion, to say, 'Look, we're really the victims here.'"
Iran officially complained to the UN Security Council for the "blatant and provocative" violation of its airspace, and demanded "condemnation of such aggressive acts."
State-run PressTV said that international law made the clandestine US flights over Iran an "act of war."
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said it had tracked and brought down the plane. After crossing into Iran,"this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed," said IRGC aerospace chief Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. "Military experts are well aware how precious the technological information of this drone is," said General Hajizadeh.