TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iran’s Air Defense commander said his forces have detected an American U-2 reconnaissance plane and forced it to avoid the country’s airspace.

Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate Iranian martyrs, held in Tehran on Thursday, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili said the air defense forces detected the U-2 aircraft intending to violate the country’s airspace a few days ago.

The US plane was given a warning and forced to change its flight path, the commander said, adding that the intruding aircraft “would have been definitely shot down” if the warnings had gone unheeded and it had approached closer to Iran’s airspace.

Iran’s Air Defense had shooed away another U-2 reconnaissance plane back in December 2014.

The Lockheed U-2 is an ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the US and has been in service for over 50 years. The spy planes have taken part in post-Cold War conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.