Tehran: Iranian state TV broadcast video of what it said was the stealth US drone that Tehran says its forces downed earlier this week.
    
The more than two minutes of footage showed Iranian military officials inspecting what state TV identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone. The cream-colored aircraft appeared intact and undamaged.
    
The chief of the aerospace division of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Ami Ali Hajizadeh, said Iranian forces brought the aircraft down with an electronic ambush, causing minimum damage to the drone.
    
"It was downed through a joint operation by the Guards and Iran's regular Army," he told state television.
    
Iranian state radio has said the unmanned aircraft was detected over the eastern town of Kashmar, some 225 kilometers from the border with Afghanistan.
    
Tehran appeared to be using the footage of the purported drone to score propaganda points, and a banner at the foot of the aircraft in the video read "The US cannot do a damn thing" a quotation by the Iran's late supreme leader, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini.”
    
Some Western experts questioned whether the aircraft in the video was indeed an RQ-170.
    
John Pike, an expert on military and intelligence technology for GlobalSecurity.org, said in an email that the drone shown on Iranian TV looked like "a parade float model of a Sentinel" rather than the high-tech robotic surveillance aircraft itself.
    
He said that the shape of the aircraft differed from that shown in most other photographs of the Sentinel, and that it was in better shape than would be expected after a crash. "I'm guessing this is a mock-up they have prepared for a parade," he said.
    
Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador on Thursday to protest the drone's "invasion" of Iranian airspace, according to state TV. It said the ministry demanded an explanation and compensation from Washington.
    
The US and Iran do not have diplomatic relations, and Switzerland represents American interests in Iran.

US officials have acknowledged the drone's loss. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

(Agencies)