A Revolutionary Guards commander said on Friday that the downing of a US drone earlier this week was aimed at sending a warning to a military aircraft flying alongside to divert its course, adding that Iran had refrained from shooting down the plane which had 35 people on board.
"This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not," Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said.
Hajizadeh claimed that the US military was warned twice before the reconnaissance drone was downed.
"Twice we... sent warnings," Hajizadeh said as quoted by AFP.
"This aircraft possesses a system which allows it to relay the signals and information it receives to its own central system," he said.
"Unfortunately, when they failed to reply and the army gave a second appeal at 3.55am (2325 GMT Wednesday) and they kept on getting nearer and the aircraft made no change to its trajectory, at 4.05am (2335 GMT) we were obliged to shoot it down."
Iran's state television released photos and video it claims to be showing the debris from the US drone shot down over the Strait of Hormuz.