Trump and Israel Blasted an Iranian Missile Launch That Didn't Happen

Iran released footage from 'a successful launch over the weekend', and President Trump and Israel's defense minister were quick to comment on it. Actually it was a failed test from eight months ago

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press while boarding Air Force One at Morristown Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, September 24, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press while boarding Air Force One at Morristown Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, September 24, 2017.Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

A supposed Iranian ballistic missile launch over the weekend addressed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel's defense minister didnt really take place, Fox News reported on Monday. According to the network's report, senior U.S. officials have said that a tweet that Trump published on Saturday came as a result of Iranian television's broadcasting a video of a failed missile launch test from eight months ago. The Iranian report was then mistakenly quoted by various news outlets, leading Trump to tweet about it from his personal account.

Israeli security sources confirmed to Haaretz that the missile test involved indeed took place earlier this year. It seems the timing of the Iranian announcement was meant to be part of Iran’s psychological war against the Trump administration because of Trump’s threats to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran. 

Trump's Saturday tweet reads: "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!" Among those who retweeted, liked or commented on it were advisers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Republican members of Congress and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The report that Fox News says was wrongly reported

Speaking on Saturday in response to reports of the launch and preceding Trump's comment, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister, said that the reported missile launch "is not just a provocation against the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, and an attempt to test them. It is also more proof of Iran's desire to turn into a world power and threaten not just nations in the Middle East, but also all the countries in the free world."

Yet on Monday, Fox News, a network that is largely aligned with the American right wing, released a report stating that such a missile launch never took place. The report claimed, "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."

Fox quoted U.S. officials as the sources for their report.  "It turns out Iran never fired a ballistic missile," the sources told the network, which Trump himself is reported to watch on a daily basis.