Iran's supposed missile launch was fake, US officials say
Iranian state television released video footage Friday claiming to show the launch of a new type of medium-range ballistic missile, a few hours after it was displayed during a military parade in Tehran.
But it turns out Iran never fired a ballistic missile, sources say.
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.
President Trump had originally 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!”
This was after Trump, speaking before world leaders at the United Nations, 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.
Trump later told reporters he had made up his mind about the deal, but wouldn't say whether he would pull the United States out of the nuclear accord with Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking at the U.N. one day after Trump, maintained his country’s missile program was “solely defensive” in nature.
“We never threaten anyone, but we do not tolerate threats from anyone,” he said. Rouhani 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.
Afterward, the footage was aired, with Iranian media claiming a successful test launch – though it apparently showed the failed January launch.
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