President Donald Trump fell for Iranian fake news.
On September 22, Iran released video footage of a missile test, just a few hours after the country displayed a projectile during a military parade. The next day, Trump responded on Twitter. "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!" he said, referring to the Iran nuclear deal.
The problem is the Iranian video shows images from a failed missile launch in January, and US intelligence officials say they "picked up no indication" of a new test. Israeli security officials also confirm the video shows images from earlifer this year.
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When asked by Vox about the video and the test, both National Security Council and State Department spokespeople noted that the government was still looking into media reports about them. Spokespeople from the Defense Department didn't immediately respond to inquiries.
This is no ordinary faux pas by Trump. The president signaled his intention to remove the US from the Iran deal last week at the United Nations General Assembly. Any provocative action by Iran — like a missile test — only provides fodder for his rationale to rip up the deal. But yesterday, European diplomats defended the agreement at an event at the Atlantic Council think tank, with French Ambassador Gérard Araud claiming "the agreement is working as it is."
But the fact that a test-that-wasn't possibly threatened a multinational agreement is jarring — and shows just much the deal seems to ride on Trump's own whims.