The photograph shows an Iranian fighter jet, the brand-new F-313, soaring high above snow-capped mountains. There’s just one problem – savvy Iranian Internet users quickly realised the photo of the jet was clearly one taken during the jet’s unveiling two weeks ago in Tehran, and superimposed onto a photo of Damavand mountain.
The photo was published last week on Khouz News, a website focusing on news from the southwest province of Khuzestan. While many Iranians online criticised the site for Photoshopping the image, this incident came to them as little surprise, as doubts had already emerged as to whether the jet was even real. Several foreign aviation experts have said the plane seems much too small to carry all the state-of-the-art technology – including radar evasion – which Iranian officials claimed it had. Iran’s defence minister has dismissed these doubts as “enemy propaganda.”
This would not be the first time Iran unveiled technology that it doesn’t actually have. Last November, Iran’s news agency Photoshopped an image of a Japanese drone and claimed it as Iran’s.
One Iranian blogger, who found what looks like the photo of the mountain used in the photomontage (above), penned the following satire:
“What you need to fly the fighter jet:
1. A photo of the place you wish to fly the jet
2. A photo of a mock-up jet
3. A Photoshop program
4. And now your jet can fly and destroy enemies!”