Fox News published an exclusive report on Monday quoting U.S. officials who said Iran’s latest ballistic missile launch was faked using seven-month-old video of a failed missile test.
The purported launch took place on Friday, shortly after the new missile featured in a military parade in Tehran. Iranian media ran clips of what it touted as a successful test launch, but analysts now say it was merely recycled footage of a test missile that blew up after flying 600 miles in a January launch. The Iranians claimed the weapon had a range of over 1,200 miles and could carry multiple warheads.
A Trump administration official told CNN that American sensors detected “no indication” of a launch when Iran claimed it test-fired its missile. “As far as we can see, it did not happen,” the official said.
The Associated Press is one of many media outlets to criticize President Donald Trump for responding to the phony Iranian launch on Twitter without first consulting his intelligence chiefs to find out of the launch was genuine:
Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea.Not much of an agreement we have!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
“Among the three officials who said there was no Iranian missile launch last week, one said officials who work on Iran issues were caught off guard by Trump’s tweet. All three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an intelligence issue,” the AP reports.
It is worth noting that as of Friday, many mainstream media outlets assumed the Iranian launch was genuine and posted reports to that effect online.
“Iran tests missile despite Trump pressure,” the BBC reported, for example, adding analysis that Trump’s rhetoric against Iran and North Korea had pushed ostensibly moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “into a corner with the hardliners” and prodded him to authorize the claimed missile test.
Israel also responded to Iran’s claim of a missile test as if it was genuine. “This Iranian missile launch is an act of provocation and defiance against the United States and its allies, as well as an attempt to test them,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday. He described the launch as “further proof of Iranian aspirations to become a world power that threatens not only the Middle East but all the countries of the free world.”