From the AFP:
Iran said on Sunday it has succeeded in copying an [advanced radar-evading] US drone it captured in December 2011, with state television broadcasting images apparently showing the replicated aircraft.Shortly after the drone went down, President Obama pleaded with the Islamic republic to return the drone.
Tehran captured the US RQ-170 Sentinel in 2011 while it was in its airspace...
"Our engineers succeeded in breaking the drone's secrets and copying them. It will soon take a test flight," an officer said in the footage.
The broadcast showed supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's visit to an exhibition organized by the powerful Revolutionary Guards air wing about Iran's military advances, particularly regarding ballistic missiles and drones.
Footage showed two nearly identical drones, [the captured US drone, and Iran's duplicate drone].
"This drone is very important for reconnaissance missions," Khamenei said, standing in front of the Iranian copy of the American unmanned aircraft.
Iran said it had taken control of the ultra hi-tech drone and forced it down in the desert where it was recovered nearly intact.
Washington said it had lost control of the aircraft...
Iran has been working to develop a significant drone programme of its own, and some of its unmanned aircraft have a range of hundreds of kilometres (miles) and are armed with missiles.
The state broadcaster also showed images that the commentary said had been recorded by an Iranian drone above a US aircraft carrier in the Gulf.
In the pictures, which were relatively clear, it was possible to see American personnel working on planes and helicopters aboard the vessel.
"We have asked for it back — we'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama told reporters at the time.
But the Iranians - who apparently do not share Obama's naivety - rebuffed his groveling and servile plea.
CNN quoted Vice President Dick Cheney as saying at the time that President Obama had three options on his desk but rejected all of them:
“They involved sending somebody in to try to recover it or, if you can’t do that, and admittedly that would be a difficult operation, he certainly could have gone in and destroyed it on the ground with an air strike,” Cheney said.Regarding Obama's plea for the drone to be returned, I noted in January of 2012 as follows:
“But he didn’t take any of the options. He asked nicely for them to return it. And they aren’t going to do that,” the former Vice President said...
Instead of returning the drone, Cheney said the Iranians will likely “send it back in pieces after they’ve gotten all the intelligence they can out of it."
Apparently, the President's no-nonsense approach, and his stern demeanor, had the Iranians shaking in their boots.
An Iranian company announced Tuesday that it will send President Obama a toy replica of the drone, 1/80th the size of the real thing. Toy copies of the drone, bearing the inscription "We will trample the U.S," will be sold in Iranian stores for 4 or 5 dollars.
According to one report, a group of Iranian youths decided to produce and begin selling the toy.
No doubt the White House will respond in kind with a heartfelt 'Thank You' letter.
The letter, I assume, will read as follows:The President has received your gift and is deeply appreciative of this most gracious and benevolent gesture.
Mr. Obama had requested the return of the drone, but you went one step better and exceeded all expectations with this wonderful gift. Thank you.
Enclosed you will find an assortment of Commemorative Baby Dolls of Mr. Obama that captures the "Yes, We Can" spirit of our 44th President. It is a gift from the President to you and to your beneficent regime.
Wishing you and the regime continued success.
The White House.