Iran missiles were 'old equipment ' but tensions remain high
Andrew McLemore
Published: Friday July 11, 2008

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Iran's missile tests earlier this week didn't demonstrate any new capabilities and may not have included the long-range missile Iran claims among those launched, a US official said.

The test caused widespread immediate criticism from an international community wary of the country's pursuit of nuclear weapons, but further analysis from experts shows that Iran's claims of long-range missiles were "old equipment," the Associated Press reported.

"Iran frequently exaggerates the capability of its missiles, and it appears it is continuing that tradition with this week's tests," said David Wright, co-director of the Union's Global Security Program.

Independent national security blog analyzed the video of the missile launches posted by the Iranian government and found no evidence to suggest the missiles had the long-range the country claimed.

In a post titled "Same old Boring Shahab 3," the blog said the missiles were no different from knockoffs of a North Korean missile obtained by Iran in 1998.

Israel is as close as 650 miles to Iran and the Shahab missile has a known range of 746 miles, according to the site.

Iran made a similarly false claim during a February missile launch, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington, D.C. arms control advocacy think tank.

The missile test proved to be misleading in more ways than one.

After many prominent news organizations including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times and many Web sites used the same photo of Iran's missile launch, Agence France Presse removed the photo from its site saying that it was "apparently digitally altered," The New York Times reported.

The photo showed four missiles being launched, but examinations by several experts quoted in an Agence France Presse story show the fourth as a composite from two other missiles in the photograph.

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice warned that America would defend its allies with a missile shield, a statement denounced Friday by Russia, Reuters reported.

The missile test sent oil prices to a new record of $147 a barrel, and gold futures surged to their highest levels since mid-March.

The full Associated Press story can be found here.