(FNA)- The Reuters news agency in a Tuesday report distorted the remarks made by Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh during an interview with FNA, in a move that could have been a gaffe, but is now widely seen as biased journalism to mislead the public and show Iran as a rising threat to global security.
FNA released parts of its interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force Commander on Tuesday, where the general stressed that one of IRIAF plans is to increase the range of its “air-to-air missiles”.
“Today, we are after increasing the range of our air-to-air missiles. Therefore, one of our most important plans is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition. We are after Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles and ammunition and consider no limitations in this regard for ourselves because the Air Force should heighten the country’s deterrence power along with other (Armed) Forces,” General Nasirzadeh told FNA on Tuesday.
“We have a very extensive plan in the field of long-range and smart ammunition and missiles,” he added, noting that the country aims to enhance the radar systems of its fighter jets to be able to hit the target sooner and with a more precision-striking power.
Air-to-air missiles are fired by aircraft, fly a couple of hundred kilometers and hit aircraft.
Hours later, Reuters rushed to cover the report, but openly distorted General Nasirzadeh’s remarks, surprising many.
Although the original piece by FNA has mentioned several times that the Iranian general is speaking of air-to-air missiles – that fall within his jurisdiction – the Reuters report never makes any such reference and only reiterates that Iran plans to widen the range of its “missiles” to hide the nature and mission of the weapon system under discussion. Then in a subsequent move to coax the readers into developing this wrong perception that the general is speaking of long-range ballistic missiles, the piece, though mentions that General Nasirzadeh is the commander of the country’s Air Force, ignores that ballistic missiles do not fall within the scope of his jurisdiction, and adds:
“Iran’s military has cited 2,000 km (1,240 miles) as the current missile range, and said U.S. bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, plus U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf, were within range.”
The added part that has been picked by the wirter from public information openly available to anyone, has no relevance to the topic under discussion by the Iranian genera, IRIAF’s air-to-air missile program.
Iran’s top military brass have repeatedly stressed that the country plans to keep the range of its ballistic missiles to a 2,000km ceiling, but the misrepresented story implies that Tehran has decided to increase the range of ballistic missiles past its self-imposed 2,000km range ceiling, beating the drums of war.
Immediately after, a growing number of activists rushed to warn Reuters against misreporting the FNA interview, reminding the agency that its report represents a genuine instance of misinformation and biased journalism.
“This is a misrepresentation of the FARS piece. The commander is of the Air Force, not the missile force, and he speaks about extended range for “air to air missiles”. These have nothing to do with ballistic missiles which Iran limited to 2,000 km,” one said.