“Fake Nukes”: Iran Faked Ballistic Missile Launch
On Saturday, when a defiant Iran allegedly confirmed the existence a brand new ballistic missile it has unveiled just hours earlier at a military parade in Tehran, we reported that Iranian state television released video footage Friday claiming to show the launch of a new type of medium-range ballistic missile.
But it turns out this was “fake news”, or rather “fake nukes“, as Iran never actually fired a ballistic missile, according to Fox News government sources, and instead the video released by the Iranians was more than seven months old – dating back to a failed launch in late January, which resulted in the missile exploding shortly after liftoff, according to two U.S. officials.
After the footage was aired, Iranian media claiming a successful test launch – though it apparently showed the failed January launch. At the time, Iran was attempting to launch its new Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile for the first time. It flew 600 miles before exploding, in a failed test of a reentry vehicle, officials said at the time. The failed late January launch was first reported by Fox News and prompted the White House to put Iran “on notice” days later.
However, apparently news of the fake launch was not filtered by the US “intelligence” apparatus before it reached Trump who responded to the reported launch in a late-Saturday tweet, saying, “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!” Last week, speaking before world leaders at the United Nations, Trump slammed the Iranian regime and called the Iran nuclear deal an “embarrassment” to the United States.
“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” he said. As reported previously, Trump later told reporters he had made up his mind about the deal, but he has yet to explain if that means the United States will be pulled out of the nuclear accord.
Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, speaking at the U.N. one day after Trump, claimed his country’s missile program was “solely defensive” in nature. “We never threaten anyone, but we do not tolerate threats from anyone,” he said. Rohani returned to Tehran two days later to preside over the missile parade featuring the new medium-range design and said his country would build as many missiles as necessary to defend itself.
Ironically, Iran’s new medium-range missile is based on a North Korean design—Pyongyang’s BM-25 Musudan ballistic missile, which has a maximum range of nearly 2,500 miles, putting U.S. forces in the Middle East and Israel within reach… assuming its problems have been fixed of course.
“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies Jeffrey Lewis, told Fos News. “Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.”
A senior Iranian general said last weekend that the missile had a range of less than 2,000 miles. “The Khoramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers [1,250 miles] and can carry multiple warheads,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Revolutionary Guards aerospace chief General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying.
The missile “is capable of carrying multiple warheads,” Hajizadeh added.
“I am not sure why the Iranians are lying about the range,” one U.S. official said. “I think they don’t want to piss the Europeans off.”
While U.N. resolution 2231, put in place days after the Iran nuclear deal was signed, calls on the Islamic Republic not to conduct ballistic missile tests, but does not forbid them from doing so, after Russia and China insisted on the watered-down language in order to pass the resolution. Iran is “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” according to the text of the resolution.
Iran possesses the largest arsenal of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, with more than 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Tehran has conducted over 20 missile tests since 2015. Tehran claims the tests are legitimate because they are defensive in nature.