Iran claimed on Sunday it has successfully copied a U.S. drone that its government captured in late 2011.
“Our engineers succeeded in breaking the drone's secrets and copying them. It will soon take a test flight,” an Iranian officer said on state TV, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Iranian network broadcast images of the replicated drone. An Iranian officer also said some components of the U.S. drone had been erased.
“Some things had been erased and contained even more information. However, there were many codes, mysteries and obstacles.”
"This drone is very important for reconnaissance missions," Khamenei said.
Iran has been working on developing a drone program, and its government captured the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone in December 2011 as it flew over Iranian airspace.
Reports at the time said the drone was on a mission to spy on Iran’s nuclear sites.
This latest announcement comes just a week after an Iranian admiral said U.S. aircraft would be targeted in war. Iran has also been building replicas of U.S. Navy ships to use for military exercises in the Persian Gulf.
Diplomats from the United States and other Western allies, meanwhile, are scheduled to meet this week with Iranian officials for another round of negotiations in Vienna to discuss a final nuclear deal.
Negotiators aim to begin drafting a final deal this month. The interim deal reached last November expires in July.