The Guards issued a statement saying the drone was trying to penetrate the site, state news agency ISNA said on Sunday.
A senior Iranian commander has identified the Israeli spy drone shot down by Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) air defense forces as an Israeli-manufactured Hermes surveillance drones.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can operate within a radius of 800 kilometers and is capable of flying 1,600 kilometers without refueling, said Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh on Monday.
The Zionist regime’s UAV is equipped with two cameras, enabling the espionage aircraft to capture high-quality images, added the top general.
Earlier on Monday, the IRGC released the first pictures of the downed spy drone.
The IRGC said in a statement on Sunday that its forces had intercepted and brought down an Israeli spy drone which was heading to Natanz nuclear facility in the central Iranian province of Isfahan.
The stealth spy drone was targeted by a surface-to-air missile before it reached the strategic location, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, Head of the IRGC Public Relations Department Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif also said on Monday said some parts of the Israeli spy drone were found intact.
According to Sharif, Iranian military experts are currently analyzing the remaining components of the aircraft to extract any data stored on its system.
On Sunday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan warned that the Islamic Republic would give a crushing response to any enemy aggression against Iranian soil.
“The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limit nuclear area in Natanz… but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area,” ISNA said, citing a statement by the Revolutionary Guards.
“This act demonstrates a new adventurism by the Zionist regime… The Revolutionary Guard and the other armed forces reserve the right to respond to this act,” the statement added.
The Israeli military said it did not comment on foreign reports.
Natanz is Iran’s main uranium enrichment site, housing more than 16,000 centrifuges. Around 3,000 more are at the Fordo plant, buried inside a mountain and hard to destroy.
Espionage and sabotage
Iran’s nuclear programme has been the target of espionage and sabotage efforts in the past. In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet virus temporarily disrupted operation of thousands of centrifuges, key components in nuclear fuel production at Natanz.
Iran says it and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted effort by Israel, the US and their allies to undermine its nuclear programme through covert operations.
Israel has never commented on the allegations but is widely believed to have been involved in the Stuxnet attack.
Since then, Iran has also said that it discovered tiny timed explosives planted on centrifuges but disabled them before they could go off.
Tehran has said it captured several US drones that violated the country’s airspace in the past. In 2011, Iran said it captured an advanced CIA spy RQ-170 Sentinel drone and later reverse-engineered it.
Final Nuclear Deal in Process
Iran and the P5+1 powers – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany – reached a six-month interim agreement under which Iran suspended part of its nuclear activities in return for a partial lifting of international sanctions.
In July that deal was extended by four months until November 24 to give the two sides more time to negotiate a final accord aimed at ending 10 years of tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme.
The sides remain split on how much uranium enrichment Iran should be allowed to carry out.
Washington wants Tehran to slash its programme by three-quarters, but Iran wants to expand enrichment ten-fold by 2021, chiefly to produce fuel for its Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Israel, a sworn enemy of Iran, opposes any agreement allowing Tehran to keep part of its uranium enrichment programme, saying Iran could use the material to make an atomic bomb.
Iran has consistently denied wanting to make nuclear weapon