In what Iran is calling a new demonstration of its military advances, state television has broadcast clips from what was described as encrypted video footage extracted from the camera of an unarmed American surveillance drone, which was seized in Iranian territory in December 2011.
The seizure of the drone, a sophisticated batwinged RQ-170 Sentinel model that had been based in neighboring Afghanistan and run by the C.I.A., was an embarrassment for the United States, which said the aircraft had crashed in Iran because of a technical malfunction.
Iran has said its military fooled the drone's avionics system into a guided landing 140 miles from the Afghan border, and has since claimed to have reverse-engineered the aircraft's secrets.
The broadcast on Wednesday included aerial views of what the narration described as the American air base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, supposedly taken by the drone; still photographs of the RQ-170 Sentinel at that base made public in 2011; and images of the Iranian military recovering the craft.
The broadcast also featured an interview with Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, identified as the head of the aerospace division of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, who said, "We were able to definitively access the data of the drone, once we brought it down," according to a translation by The Associated Press.
In another portion of the interview, General Hajizadeh said that when the Iranians realized the value of what they had seized, they considered the possibility that the United States would initiate a sabotage mission, most likely an airstrike, to destroy the drone. He said Iran's military strategists had ruled out the possibility of a raid by American commandos because "they would have been captured and created bigger problems for the U.S.," according to a translation by the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.
After initially denying Iran's claims to have seized the drone on Dec. 4, 2011, the United States confirmed that it had been lost. President Obama even acknowledged that the Americans had asked Iran to return it, a request Iran rejected. The Iranian military later put it on public display.
More footage said to have been recorded by the drone can be seen in a copy of the 24-minute Iranian report posted on YouTube by Lenziran, a site that monitors Iranian media.
In another assertion of military advances, the Fars News Agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, claimed Thursday that Iran had also started to produce functional copies of a smaller, American ScanEagle surveillance drone it had displayed on state television in December. The Fars report quoted Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Eslami as saying that the country had also established a "production line for the drones in foreign countries."
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.