5/24/2013

Iran rejects Bahrain claim about drone find

GULFNEWS
Manama draws links between covert surveillance and spy cells in region
  • AFP

Tehran: Tehran on Thursday denied a Bahraini claim that it had recovered an Iranian drone from the sea, and urged Manama to refrain from making “baseless accusations”, the Isna news agency reported.
It cited an unnamed Foreign Ministry source as denying Bahrain’s assertion that the downed aircraft was Iranian.
“Instead of making baseless claims, it would be better to respond to the legitimate demands of its people,” the source said referring to Bahrain.
On Wednesday, Bahrain government spokeswoman Samira Rajab said the unmanned aircraft “was found in the sea in north Bahrain, mainly between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, two weeks ago”.
She added: “It has been proved that this is a drone used by Iran and could be linked to the Iranian spy cells discovered in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”
It was unclear if the aircraft had crashed into the sea or was brought down.
The US navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, and Iran, Washington’s arch-foe, has fleets of drones it says can be used for attacks as well as for surveillance.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said its authorities had arrested 10 more suspects in an alleged Iranian spy ring unveiled two months ago. Tehran has denied links to the cell.
Bahraini interior minister Shaikh Rashid Al Khalifa on Wednesday urged “further cooperation and collaboration between security services in the region and with friendly states to face these threats” by Iran.
Arab states in the Gulf have long had strained ties with Iran. Relations deteriorated further in early 2011 after a Gulf security force helped bring anti-government protests in Bahrain under control.