President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States has asked Iran to return a U.S. drone aircraft that Iran claims it recently brought down in Iranian territory.
“We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said in a news conference, alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A top Iranian military official previously vowed not to return the unmanned American stealth plane that it says it has.
[…]Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday criticized Obama’s decisions on the drone, but for an entirely different reason. He said that, after the aircraft went down, the president should have ordered an airstrike over Iran.
“The right response to that would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it,” the Republican, who served with President George W. Bush, told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “You can do that from the air … and, in effect, make it impossible for them to benefit from having captured that drone.”
Instead, “he asked nicely for them to return it, and they aren’t going to,” Cheney said.
[…]One U.S. official said the United States can’t be certain it’s the real stealth drone, because U.S. personnel don’t have access to it. But he added there’s no reason to think it’s a fake. However, a second senior U.S. military official said that a big question is to how the drone could have remained virtually intact given the high altitude it is believed to have crashed from.
In an interview broadcast live Monday night on Venezuelan state television, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said nothing to suggest his country would grant the U.S. request.
“The Americans have perhaps decided to give us this spy plane,” Ahmadinejad said. “We now have control of this plane.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Ahmadinejad said: “There are people here who have been able to control this spy plane, who can surely analyze this plane’s system also. … In any case, now we have this spy plane.”
He added, “Very soon, they’re going to learn more about the abilities and possibilities of our country.”
On Tuesday, a semi-official Iranian news agency said authorities have shrugged off the U.S. request. Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the United States should apologize for invading Iranian air space instead of asking for the return of the unmanned aircraft.
Remember when Iran was having their elections and they started shooting people down in the street? Unlike Germany, France and Canada, Obama had nothing to say about that. Ronald Reagan would have had something to say. Margaret Thatcher would have something to say. But Obama had nothing to say. Maybe the Iranians looked at what Obama did and decided that Obama is a paper tiger.
Lately, we’ve seen an Iranian-backed attack on U.S. soil, an Iranian-backed attack on a U.K. embassy, and increased Iranian operations in Latin America. What could be emboldening Iran to be so aggressive? If we are nice to them and bow down to them and give them money, won’t that make them like us more?