Iran rejects U.S. hotline request: 'This drone shooting was a warning to America'

by REZA KAHLILI November 12, 2012

After its warplanes fired on an American drone last week, Iran has not only turned down a U.S. request for a direct, diplomatic hotline, but has also suggested America's "cautious" response is a sign of its weakness in the Middle East.

Reports on Nov. 8, which were confirmed by the Pentagon, said that two Revolutionary Guards fighters shot at a U.S. drone in international airspace, east of Kuwait.

"The U.S. had requested Iran set up a direct hotline, and Iran rejected the request," Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, a senior military aide to the supreme leader, said Sunday, according to Fars News Agency, a media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards.

Guard commanders did not announce the shooting, which took place before the U.S. presidential elections, and only confirmed the incident after it was revealed in the U.S. days ago.

Safavi did not clarify when the U.S. request for the hotline was made, but his announcing it Sunday most likely linked it to the recent shooting.

U.S. defense officials had also made such a request in 2011 after a series of close encounters between U.S. and Guard naval vessels in the Persian Gulf. That request was also turned down by the Islamic regime.

"We would establish direct contact with the United States if we would ever go to the Gulf of Mexico," the Guards' naval commander, Ali Fadavi, stated then. He has previously announced Guard plans for sending warships into the Atlantic Ocean, close to the Gulf of Mexico.



Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons.  He is a senior fellow with EMPact America and the author of A Time to Betray, a book about his double-life as a CIA agent in Iran's Revolutionary Guards, published by Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster, April 2010.  A Time to Betray was the winner of the 2010 National Best Book Award and the 2011 International Best Book Award.

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