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Dec 10, 2011 at 02:41am IST

Iran complains to UN council about US drone

United Nations: The Iranian UN mission said on Friday it complained to the UN Security Council about a US reconnaissance drone that it says was flying over eastern Iran before the military took "forceful action" against it.

"I have the honor to draw your kind attention to the provocative and covert operations against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the United States government, which have increased and intensified in recent months," Iran's UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said in a letter to the council.

An American RQ-170 unmanned spy plane had violated Iran's air space, Khazaee said in his letter, which was addressed to the council's president, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, and copied to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"My government, hereby, calls for the condemnation of such acts of aggression and requests for clear and effective measures to be taken to put an end to these dangerous and unlawful acts," Khazaee said in the letter sent on Thursday.

He said the plane flew 155 miles/250 km into Iranian territory up to the northern region of the city of Tabas, where it faced "prompt and forceful action" by the Iranian military.

Western UN diplomats said the Security Council, on which the United States has veto powers, was unlikely to take any action on the Iranian request.

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned on Thursday the Swiss ambassador, who represents US interests in the country, to condemn what it said was a US violation of its airspace, Iranian state television reported.

NATO's US-led mission in neighboring Afghanistan said the Iranian claims to have seized a surveillance aircraft could refer to an unarmed US spy drone that went missing recently.

The drone incident comes as Tehran is trying to contain foreign outrage at an attack on the British Embassy last week after London imposed sanctions on Iran's central bank over Iran's disputed nuclear enrichment program.

Iran's state television has shown pictures of the drone with an American flag hanging from it.