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IRGC Drill In Persian Gulf: Unverified Claims, Propaganda And Naïve Stunts

Iranian military fires a missile targeting a mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, July 28, 2020

As the Islamic Republic of Iran continues its military exercises in the Persian Gulf near the strait of Hormuz, more details are coming out in traditional and social media revealing the Revolutionary Guard’s publicity about Tehran's military might.

One of the latest revelations made on social media is about the satellite imagery the IRGC portrayed as images coming from an Iranian satellite. Social media activists keen about that kind of detail pointed out that the pictures were "borrowed" from Google.

In the pictures posted by n Iran watcher, the bigger image on top is a Google image, and the three at the bottom are those attributed to the Iranian satellite whose whereabouts and performance have gone unreported since its launch in April.

During the drills, Iranian commanders' propaganda hinged around their use of ballistic and cruise missiles as well as anti-aircraft defense systems that can tackle that kind of missiles.

In the meantime, part of the exercise gave way to international uproar about Iran's “careless” behavior as it fired ballistic missiles at imaginary targets in an extremely busy waterway where there are dozens of fishing and commercial vessels as well as oil tankers at any given moment.

Iran claims that these missiles were meant to fall near U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region.

In another propaganda move, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of IRGC's aerospace force posted a video on Twitter to prove that ballistic missiles were fired from underground launchers.

IRAN -- A combo photo reportedly show ballistic missiles being launched by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the last day of military exercises near sensitive Gulf waters, July 29, 2020
IRAN -- A combo photo reportedly show ballistic missiles being launched by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the last day of military exercises near sensitive Gulf waters, July 29, 2020

Hajizadeh said: "Ballistic missiles buried in the lower depths of the ground fired during the Great Prophet 14 military exercise,” adding that “the name and specifications of these missiles are confidential." He made the remarks mindless of the fact that the videos give away both of this information about the missile although it is hard to tell if the video has been really shot in the past or during this exercise.

Tasnim news agency said that firing ballistic missiles from underground launchers can mislead the enemy's intelligence but did not say how. It must not be hard for any projectile engineer to pinpoint the launcher based on actual visual evidence and radar records.

In fact, there are at least two points that cast a shadow of doubt on the IRGC's claims and propaganda. The first point is that the IRGC is the only source of these information and there is no independent report from credible international sources.

The next point is that unlike all military exercises carried out around the world, there are no military observers from other countries to verify the IRGC's claims. It is customary all over the world to have the military attaches of foreign embassies on the site of the exercises.

However, the IRGC is so secretive and at the same time paranoid about prying eyes that it shrouds military exercises in an aura of secrecy, making its claims doubtful although evidence such as Hajizadeh's video give away information to experts all over the world.

Elsewhere in IRGC propaganda, Iran claimed that it used Russian Sukhoi-22 jets to destroy targets in the Iranian Island of Farur.

Foreign Policy Analyst and UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky observed in a tweet that "The IRGC overhauled and upgraded10 Sukhoi SU-22 fighter jets in 2018.” He also cited DIA estimates that say Iran may purchase Sukhoi-30 fighters from Russia after the arms embargo against Iran expires.

The highlight of the exercise, which is still in its second day, was a strike at a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Pictures released so far do not show any major strike although anecdotal accounts on social media say the strike took place but the model was not hit successfully.

Pictures released by Iranian sources including Fars news agency and Hamshahri Online show that the missile missed the model or hit part of its side. Nevertheless, U.S. sources called IRGC's act "careless and irresponsible."