Did Iran doctor an image of its missile test launch?
French news agency AFP retracts image saying 4th missile added to cover possible failed launch
After Iran's provocative missile test launch on Wednesday, in which the Islamic republic test fired missiles it said could hit Israel, an image surfaced in all the major media outlets, depicting four missiles being fired simultaneously.
However, the French news agency Agence France-Presse, which originally obtained the image from the Sepah News Web site owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, later retracted the photo and replaced it with an image containing only three missiles.
The Associated Press also distributed a photo on Thursday that appeared to be almost identical to the one displaying four missiles, without the fourth missile.
In a copy of the AFP advisory obtained by Haaretz, the French organization reported that "a defense analyst said that Iran had apparently doctored photographs of missile test-firings and exaggerated the capabilities of the weapons," adding that the fourth missile was apparently added to cover up a failed launch.
The news agency went on to say that the fourth missile had apparently been created using elements from the smoke trail and dust clouds from two of the other missiles.
After being shown the photograph by AFP, Mark Fitzpatrick of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said "it very much does appear that Iran doctored the photo to cover up what apparently was a misfiring of one of the missiles."
"The whole purpose of this testing was to send a signal so Iran both exaggerated the capabilities of the missile in their prose and apparently doctored the photos as well."
AFP also said that several photography experts agreed that the image had been manipulated.
"It's a doctored image," said Gerard Issert, a technician at Granon, one of the largest photo laboratories in Paris, AFP reported.
"Although the missiles weren't all equidistant from the camera, they're the same size in the picture," Issert told AFP in the southern French city of Arles.
Iran defiantly test launched a second round of missiles in the Persian Gulf overnight Thursday. Wednesday's missile display prompted the United States to declare that it would defend its allies at all costs.
Meanwhile, Israel said Thursday it would exhibit an advanced aircraft capable of spying on Iran.