- The U.S. Navy has accounted for all its drones, a U.S. defense official says
- United States operates only in internationally recognized air space in the Gulf, says source
- The drone was seized as it flew over the Persian Gulf, Iranian state media says
- Iran's Revolutionary Guard says the drone was collecting data
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- A unit from Iran's navy has captured a U.S. drone flying over the Persian Gulf, according to Iranian state media reports Tuesday.
The drone, which was collecting data, was captured immediately after entering Iranian airspace, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is cited as saying by the state-run news agency IRNA.
However, a U.S. defense official, who could not be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media, told CNN that whatever the Iranians claim to have, it is not an actively operating U.S. Navy drone.
"The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space," the source said.
The internationally recognized territorial limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast.
Iranian state media quoted Adm. Ali Fadavi, of the Revolutionary Guards, as saying the unmanned aerial device was a ScanEagle.
The ScanEagle, with a wingspan of just over 10 feet, is designed to fly for 24 hours or more without refueling and can support extreme temperatures and high winds, according to its manufacturer. It can be launched from the ground or from a warship.
Iran's Press TV showed footage of what purported to be a drone.
Last month, the Pentagon said Iranian jets had fired on a U.S. drone as it flew off the Iranian coastline in the northern Persian Gulf.
The armed MQ-1 Predator was on a routine surveillance mission above international waters, 16 miles off the coast, the Defense Department said.
A year ago, a high-altitude RQ-170 Sentinel crashed in the Iranian desert after leaving an airbase in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. Iranians claimed to have shot it down, and created a toy model of the drone to celebrate its capture.