Aviation experts were quick to debunk Iran's claims last week that officials have developed a state-of-the-art, radar-evading stealth fighter plane, and they were probably correct – a promotional photo of the jet in the air was Photoshopped.
Iran's defense minister tried to pass off the "super advanced" Qahar-313 jet as the newest addition to the country's line of military aircrafts.
However, David Cenciotti, who runs "The Aviationist" blog
, gave detailed, technical testimony last week explaining why the plane wouldn’t be able to fly.
"Here you can find all the reasons why we can affirm that Iran’s new stealth plane, at least in the form that was showcased on Feb. 2 during the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies held in Tehran, is nothing more than a mock-up," Cenciotti wrote, listing improbable aspects of the aircraft, like the size of the cockpit and the lack of essential instrumentation, nozzles, rivets, and bolts.
And now, the photo released of the Qahar-313 flying over Iran's Mount Damavand has been dubbed a fake. As The Atlantic Wire
points out, the background photo of the snowy mountain is ripped directly from a stock image found easily through a Google Image search and edited in Photoshop.
Moreover, the plane's position in the picture is exactly the same as in the unveiling photo from the Feb. 2 ceremony, leading audiences to believe it was superimposed in front of mountains.
Media reports speculate that the fake photo was a propaganda tool used to convince Iranians that their country is ready to compete on a global level with Western military intelligence.
This wouldn't be the first time Iran has manipulated a photo for political reasons. In November, an Iranian news agency circulated a photo of the KOKER 1 drone it claimed to have built. Again, aviation experts quickly exposed the photo as a fake. It turns out the drone photo was taken at Chiba University in Japan in 2008 and had no connection to Iran at all.
In 2008, U.S. media hurled Photoshop accusations again at Iran, after a news agency distributed photos of an Iranian missile test that contained what was thought to be two extra missiles.
Here's the video spot that ran on Iranian television stations promoting the stealth plane:
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