The international community was on edge this week as tensions rose in the Middle East between Israel and Iran. News of an Israeli wargame leaked out, and Iran responded by testing four missiles that potentially have the range to hit Israel.
However, as the photo above reveals, the evidence of the missile test was faked by Iran. According to the New York Times:
Agence France-Presse, which distributed the image of the four missiles to the West, said it was obtained on Wednesday from the Web site of Sepah News, the media arm of the Revolutionary Guards.
On Thursday, The Associated Press released what appeared to be a nearly identical photo, but Little Green Footballs a conservative blog, identified the altered image on its site on Wednesday night . Last year the blog pointed out a manipulated image that had been distributed by Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. As in the case of Wednesday’s photograph and many others that the site has uncovered, the one from 2007 appeared to contain several cloned elements.
Iranian leaders have overstated military developments in the past. “They’ve made some exaggerated claims from time to time,” said Gary Sick, an expert on Iran at Columbia University. “They clearly want the world to be impressed with their missile capability.”
Agence France-Presse retracted its original image on Thursday morning, saying the fourth missile “has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test.”
Furthermore, many analysts questioned Iran's claim that the test revealed improvements in Iran's strategic capabilities. In the Los Angeles Times, Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School, states that “There is no evidence of a significant advance in previously known missile capabilities of Iran’s medium- and long-range missiles.”
If it weren't so scary, it would be pretty funny.