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Did Iran just down a US drone by 'spoofing'? (+video)

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Iran claims it captured a United States drone in its airspace over the Persian Gulf, and though the US denies the downing of one of its intelligence-gathering drones, the claim highlights the role unmanned surveillance aircraft have played in the tense clandestine conflict between the US and Iran.

The crux of the tension between Iran and the US, as well as a number of European nations and Israel, is Iran’s suspected development of nuclear weapons [See our recent cover story on why Iran's ayatollah distrusts the US and what that means for nuclear talks and the possibility of war with the West]. Iran claims its nuclear goals are focused on civilian nuclear power, but the tensions around its nuclear program are palpable, and have inspired something of a “covert war” between Iran and the West. The Christian Science Monitor reported last year that “[t]he war has already seen assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, mysterious explosions at Iran’s missile and industrial facilities, and the Stuxnet virus that set back Iran’s nuclear program,” in addition to the targeting of US surveillance drones.

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