Rights groups decry drone strikes

This undated US Air Force photo shows an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft as it prepares for takeoff in support of operations in Southwest Asia. Iranian fighter jets fired on an unarmed US drone in the Gulf last week and missed, the Pentagon said November 8, 2012, warning that the United States stood ready to protect its forces in the region. "They intercepted the aircraft and fired multiple rounds," spokesman George Little told a news conference. The US military plane was "never in Iranian air space" and came under fire on November 1 from SU-25 fighters off the Iranian coast over international waters, he said. The MQ-1 Predator, a turboprop plane that flies at a much slower speed than the fighter jets, was pursued further by the Iranian warplanes but not fired on again. The Predator later returned safely to an unspecified military base in the region, Little said. The Predator was intercepted about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast, beyond Iran's territorial waters that extend 12 nautical miles off the country's shore, he added. = RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / US AIRFORCE/JULIANNE SHOWALTER/" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS = JULIANNE SHOWALTER/AFP/Getty Images ** TCN OUT **

This undated US Air Force photo shows an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft as it prepares for takeoff in support of operations in Southwest Asia. Iranian fighter jets fired on an unarmed US drone in the Gulf last week and missed, the Pentagon said November 8, 2012, warning that the United States stood ready to protect its forces in the region. “They intercepted the aircraft and fired multiple rounds,” spokesman George Little told a news conference. The US military plane was “never in Iranian air space” and came under fire on November 1 from SU-25 fighters off the Iranian coast over international waters, he said. The MQ-1 Predator, a turboprop plane that flies at a much slower speed than the fighter jets, was pursued further by the Iranian warplanes but not fired on again. The Predator later returned safely to an unspecified military base in the region, Little said. The Predator was intercepted about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast, beyond Iran’s territorial waters that extend 12 nautical miles off the country’s shore, he added. = RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT ” AFP PHOTO / US AIRFORCE/JULIANNE SHOWALTER/” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS =
JULIANNE SHOWALTER/AFP/Getty Images ** TCN OUT **