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Iranian official says country can copy downed CIA drone

TEHRAN — Iran is now capable of manufacturing its own copies of an advanced CIA spy drone captured last year, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday.

Avaz Heidarpour, a member of the Parliament’s national security committee, said specialists have reverse-engineered the RQ-170 Sentinel drone, and Iran now is capable of launching a production line for the unmanned aircraft.

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‘‘Iranian experts examined and analyzed the RQ-170 drone,’’ he told the Parliament’s website, icana.ir, on Wednesday. “Its parts were brought down so that all files and boards of the drone were copied and used to improve Iran’s unmanned aircraft.’’

Heidarpour said production of the RQ-170 drone cost the United States around $20 billion, but the expensive technology is now in Iran’s possession through reverse engineering.

The Sentinel went down in December. Iran said it took control of it and landed it, but US officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land.

They eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran’s military and nuclear facilities. Washington asked for it back, but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.

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