Foreign Policy

Iran Refuses to Return U.S. Drone, Offers Cool Toy Version Instead


*pew pew*

In response to President Barack Obama's recent request for the return of an errant unmanned U.S. spy plane that crashed in eastern Iran in late November of last year, Iranian officials have offered a compromise.

Iran plans to keep the original, which totally, absolutely, definitely wasn't a tool in a spying campaign on Iran. (Apparently, the Iranian military still has some business with the actual drone.) But they're more than happy to send a toy replica to the White House. ABC News reports:

Iranian state radio said that the toy model will be 1/80th the size of the real thing. Iranian citizens can also buy their own toy copies of the drone, which will be available in stores for the equivalent of $4.

Those of us who would like to add the mini-drone to our collection of action figures will just have to hope the current sanctions regime doesn't prevent us from getting our hands on one.

Read more about Iran-US relations, spying, and toys.

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  1. Apparently the drone they captured and based their toy on was the limited edition Louis Vuitton alligator skin model.

    1. A Louis Vuitton B2 bomber.

  2. Awesome. Ah-mah-dinner-jacket is strong with the lulz.

    1. But he’s threatening the world with a Lolocaust!

    2. Reminds me a bit of that story about the guy who got caught by a speed camera in some flyover state.

      State sends him a photo of his car and license plate with a ticket (fine) attached.

      Guy sends back a photo of a check for the amount of the fine.

      Sheriff sends back a photo of handcuffs.

      Guy pays fine.

  3. Read the whole story. Who would have thought there was a non-profit novelty company base in Teran

  4. Eastern Iran. It was flying in western Afghanistan.


    1. Thanks for the correction.

      1. Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?

  5. It’s a hell of a gambol on Iran’s part.

  6. That’s like an Obama maneuver. Except that when he does crap like this, he thinks he’s being witty.

    Frankly, after this move, I think we can do business with these people after all.

  7. Iran better get working on a replica drone with the hellfire missile attachment option.

  8. Here is my shocked face. Obama has the guts to send a top-secret spy drone over Iran – but doesn’t have the guts to order the strike to destroy it when it goes down.

    1. It’s also possible that the command was sent and worked. Self-destruct is not necessarily catastrophic; as long as the electronics are fried…

      Also possible that the command was sent but was jammed. Etc.

    2. great idea starting a war over a robot. jeesch try something other than radio entertainment

      1. What war? What strike? We didn’t do shit!

    3. “”but doesn’t have the guts to order the strike to destroy it when it goes down.””

      I think it was more complicated than that.

      If you know where it crashed, then you know where to bomb. But according to reports, it didn’t crash, it was hijacked. If that’s true, you don’t know where to send the bombs because 1. it didn’t crash. 2. you’ve lost radio contact and don’t know where the damn thing is.

      1. Besides, I don’t the destruction of a downed asset requires executive authorization.

        1. “What downed asset? No comment.”

          See how that works.

          1. Yeah, that would have worked well in this situation since it was displayed on TV.

            1. Well no shit you hit it before that.

              1. I don’t know, a self destruct on live TV would’ve been pretty cool.

                1. “We disavow all knowledge of that thing that blew itself, and half your camera crew, up.”

              2. “”Well no shit you hit it before that.””

                You have to find it first.

  9. Why wasn’t a remote destruct device built into the drone. Wouldn’t be surprised if the toy replica Iran offered to send us did.

    1. Why assume there is a self destruct on board? This is not a James Bond movie.

      1. I’m saying there should have been. We’re not talking 007 technology here. Hell, I could probably make it if I had access to some C4.

        1. Any aircraft worth a damn has a zeroize function that is specifically meant to do the equivalent of a DoD wipe of sensitive data. If this thing didn’t have an automagic/remote way of zeroizing important data, someone fucked up massively in design.

        2. Thank you Captain Hindsight! I’m glad this is behind us now.

  10. Iranian state radio said that the toy model will be 1/80th the size of the real thing. Iranian citizens can also buy their own toy copies of the drone, which will be available in stores for the equivalent of $4.

    That should enrage and irk the president as he has proven to be not only against profits and production but also against so-called product “piracy.”

    Kudos to the Iranians for such elegant slap on the face.

  11. Smells like fuckery.

  12. Now that is funny.

  13. onetime I stared at a map and squinted real hard until I could see the teeny people walking on the lines and when I woke up I was in a dumpster.

    1. what drug again?

  14. I would find this funny, except it’s just going to encourage the warmongers campaigning over here in the good ole US of A.

    1. As though anything could deter them.

      1. Ahem – perfectly good novelist should not pretend to be geo political analyst.

    2. Actually, I think it hurts the warmongers. It humanizes the Iranians by showing they have sense of humor.

      1. “Iran will nuke us just for teh lolz! They must be stopped!”

    3. We know nothing about their customs, traditions, or culture. But you can be damn sure they stand for everything we don’t stand for.

      And they told me you guys all look like dorks!

      1. WHAT?! THEY look like dorks!

  15. I imagine they don’t build a self-destruct device into the thing because it’s most likely to crash right on the base where it takes off.

    Would you buy one of those remote-controlled helicopters from the mall and fly it around your house if it was loaded with C-4?

    1. Depends on what my insurance policy says

    2. Would you buy one of those remote-controlled helicopters from the mall and fly it around your house if it was loaded with C-4?

      Fuckin’ A. Where do I get one?

    3. no, but i’d fly it around Tony’s house.

      besides, you don’t have to arm the bomb before take-off.

    4. No. I would buy 20.

    5. Would you buy one of those remote-controlled helicopters from the mall and fly it around your house if it was loaded with C-4?

      Dumb question; of course I would.

  16. BTW, to get back at them we should totally send them action figures made in the likeness of those scientists of theirs we keep assassinating.

    1. Otherwise Han Solo, because Iranians probably think he’s so boss.

    2. If only foreign policy actually worked this way.

    3. Quite the escalation, who knows where it will lead?

      1. Us destroying a scale model of Iran with one of those nuclear hand grenades?

        1. 1 Tin Can
          1 Nuka-Cola Quantum
          1 Abraxo Cleaner
          1 Turpentine
          Combine Components at a Workbench; enjoy!

  17. Just what we need, more cheap toy foreign imports. It probably contains lead paint! Or arrest them for stealing our intellectual property.

    1. The first war over copyright infringement.

    2. They could put them happy meals at Falafel Hut

      1. Falafel isn’t really part of Iranian cuisine.

        1. How pedantic. But I suppose I should thank you because now I won’t make that mistake in front of my Iranian acquaintances.

          1. I’ve seen it on the menu of some Persian restaurants in L.A., but this might be to reach out to customers expecting typical “Middle Eastern” cuisine (the same way Greek restaurants serve pita bread and hummus, which is rarely on the menu in Greece). Also I think it’s popular in southern Iran. But I don’t think it’s technically considered native Iranian cuisine. Then again, the national dish of Germany is the d?ner kebab…

  18. You know, I wonder if this isn’t some big set-up on our part? Hard to believe we don’t secure the brains of the drone well enough to prevent anyone from hacking into them (or without some sort of kill routine), so maybe this whole affair is to get them to take it into their secret laboratories, which we’ll blow up. Like the story about printers we sold to the Iraqis actually transmitting location signals to our military.

    1. Never underestimate the incompetence of the military. Besides which, the important stuff is the optics and communication frequencies and protocols. Two of those can be determined by the hardware alone, hard to fry that.

      1. I don’t. On the other hand, Iran’s competence and integrity don’t impress me much, either.

        1. Although most of their engineers left in the 70’s and 80’s, I have to assume they’ve got some capabilities left. They definitely know how to Photoshop.

          1. Yes, they can Photoshop.

            1. But not very well

      2. Would it be? I’m more of a software guy than a hardware guy, but I work with RFID equipment and I can send a “kill” command to any RFID tag which will cause the tag to destroy itself (not by exploding unfortunately). And keep in mind these tags don’t even have batteries in them, they can only get power by inducing a current through radio waves. And the tags are nothing but stickers that cost 5 cents a pop.

        I’m sure the engineers could design a system that could remotely fry any part they wanted if they anticipated the problem. Remotely destroying a drone would be a good reason to have an alternate, usually unused communications protocol for instance. Of course “they could” and “they did” are two different things.

        1. TROJAN HORSE

    2. Er, Taliban’s been hacking our drones’ camera feeds for years. I think the first story I read about it was back in 06 or 07.

      It’s broadcast with no encryption whatsoever. “Military Intelligence.”

      1. It is pretty easy to “hack” an unencrypted data feed.

  19. They key electronics will be protected so that the systems cannot be taken apart and reverse-engineered.

    However, that doesn’t prevent a smart engineer from learning a lot about how the systems are put together and how they probably work.

  20. This is like that part in Mars Attacks where we try and nuke the aliens and one of their guys sucks it through a funnel like a nuclear bong hit!
    Iran: 1 1/80
    US: 0

    1. Ack! Ack!

  21. Nice to see they have a sense of humor.

  22. Think of the JOBZ their government created making those things.

    Maybe Obama will take credit for those too…

  23. The Iranians will soon have nuclear killer drone technology! They must be stopped! This is totally different from all of the other times the sky was falling!

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    1. Do you have any infidel chicks willing to inspect my drone technology?

  25. So, if Iran had a drone flying around over the US gathering intelligence and it crashed and the Iranians asked us to give it back we’d totally do that, right?

  26. Very classy…*claps hand* guess its our move huh?
    I hope someone makes sure no tracking devises are in the models.

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