By Sara Ghasemilee
By Sara Ghasemilee
January 18, 2012 (Alarabiya)
Iran has decided to honor U.S. President Barack Obama’s wish and return a drone that crashed in the Islamic Republic last year. But rather than sending back the RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which is worth millions of dollars, an Iranian toy company says it plans to send Obama miniature plastic versions of it.
“We plan to send a full squadron of 12 to the White House for President Obama as a present,” said Reza Kioumarsi, a spokesman for the Aaye Art Group, according to CNN.
The Tehran-based non-profit, non-governmental company, which makes various novelty items, has been doing a fast trade in models of the expensive spyware, producing around 2,000 pieces a day, and has promised to reserve one for Obama, but is determined to find out what the U.S. president’s favorite color is first.
“He said he wanted it back, and we will send him one,” said Kioumarsi.
In December last year, Obama said the United States had asked Iran to return the highly classified drone.
At the time General Hossein Salami, the deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, said that was not going to happen. He also warned on Iranian television of a “bigger response” to the “hostile act” of crossing into Iranian airspace.
Iran’s foreign ministry was similarly dismissive of Obama’s request.
“It seems he has forgotten that Iran’s airspace was violated, spying operations were undertaken, international laws were violated and that Iran’s internal affairs were interfered with,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.
“Instead of an official apology and admitting to this violation, they are making this request,” he said.
The U.S. says that the craft was operating over eastern Afghanistan, but Tehran claims they detected the drone well inside Iran’s border and then took control of the craft electronically and brought it down safely. The U.S. has denied that the craft came down for any reason other than technical malfunction.
The U.S. fears Iran will let Russia and China inspect the Sentinel. Their goal would be to identify – and then replicate – its advanced technology.
This “stealth technology” is also used by the most advanced “fifth generation” fighters in service with the U.S. Air Force, notably the F-22 Raptor.