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US denies loss of drone after Iran claims it captured one

Iran's state TV reports that an unmanned American drone was captured over the Persian Gulf but did not give details of exactly when or where it happened. A spokesman for the U.S. Navy says no drones are missing in the area. TODAY's Tamron Hall reports.

Updated at 5:35 a.m. ET: The U.S. Navy said Tuesday that it had not lost any drones over the Persian Gulf recently after Iran claimed to have captured one in its airspace.

The semi-official Fars and the state-run IRNA news agencies reported that a U.S. ScanEagle drone was gathering information over Gulf waters and had entered Iranian airspace.

The agencies said the drone was then captured by a naval unit of the Revolutionary Guards force.

However a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain denied the claim.

"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 spokesman said. "We have no record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently." 

Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images, file

Insitu's ScanEagle, an autonomous aircraft system, launches during the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) demonstration day at Naval Air Station Pax River Webster Field Annex in St. Inigoes, Md., on Aug. 10, 2009.

Last month the U.S. said Iranian warplanes shot at a U.S. surveillance drone flying in international airspace. Iran said the aircraft had entered its airspace.

The ScanEagle is manufactured by Boeing Co. According to the firm's website, the drone is four feet long and has a 10-foot wingspan.

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports Dec. 5, 2011, on the American stealth drone that crashed in Iran and whether it is giving the Iranians access to a wealth of U.S. technology.

The Fars report, citing a senior naval officer, said Iran's forces had "full intelligence supremacy over the moves of the foreign forces in the Persian Gulf."

In April, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who is chief of the aerospace division of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, claimed that his government was copying an American spy drone captured by Iran's armed forces last year.

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Hajizadeh was quoted as saying that Iranian experts were recovering information from the RQ-170 Sentinel captured in December last year in eastern Iran, al Arabiya News reported.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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