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Iran refuses to hand back spy drone

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Barack Obama has demanded the return of a US surveillance drone captured by Iranian armed forces (AP)

Barack Obama has demanded the return of a US surveillance drone captured by Iranian armed forces (AP)

Barack Obama has demanded the return of a US surveillance drone captured by Iranian armed forces (AP)

Iran has shrugged off America's request for the return of its spy drone and instead demanded an apology.

Tehran last week identified the drone as an RQ-170 Sentinel and said it was captured over the country's east. The nearly intact drone was displayed on state TV and flaunted as a victory for Iran in a complicated intelligence and technological battle with the US

"Their plane invaded Iran and Iranian forces reacted powerfully," said Defence Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi "Now, instead of offering an apology to the Iranian nation, they impudently ask for the return of the plane."

US officials say the unmanned aircraft malfunctioned and was not brought down by Iran. President Barack Obama has delivered a formal request for the return of the surveillance drone.

Mr Vahidi said the United States should apologise for invading Iranian air space instead of asking for drone back.

After Mr Obama announced the request, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad underscored his nation's defiance.

"The Americans have perhaps decided to give us this spy plane," he said. "We now have control of this plane."

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