Video of Iranian military aircraft uses old footage from 2021

By: Naledi Mashishi
April 17 2024

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Video of Iranian military aircraft uses old footage from 2021


The Verdict False

Video uses old footage of Iranian military exercises from 2021 that is unrelated to the current conflict.

Claim ID 4dbd27aa

What's the claim?

"High Alert! Iranian Military Aircraft Were Spotted Entering Iraqi and Syrian Airspace at Low Altitude, Heading Towards the War Zone," says the caption on a video uploaded to TikTok on April 5, 2024. The video shows clips of what appear to be military aircraft flying over a desert region. A second caption says "4/4/2024" and adds that tensions are escalating between Israel and Iran.

Iran launched an aerial attack on Israel on Saturday, April 13, involving over 300 drones and missiles. The attack was a response to Israel's bombing of an Iranian consulate in Syria earlier that month.

Tensions began to mount between the two countries following the consulate bombing. But does the video on TikTok show Iranian fighter jets entering Iraqi and Syrian airspace 10 days before the attack? 

Our research says no. The footage in the video has been online since at least 2021. 

What we found

A reverse image search shows that the video uses genuine footage of Iranian warcraft, but it has been mirror-reversed, and there are at least two clips from two different sources. We traced the first video to an Instagram account that posted it on March 29, 2024. The original post provides little context besides saying the planes were seen in a desert in Isfahan province, Iran.

The aircraft in the TikTok video (left) and the Instagram account (right) have the same features, similar movements, and the same horizons over the desert. (Source: TikTok/Instagram/Screenshots)

The second clip has been in circulation since 2021. We found a Facebook post with the footage dated November 21, 2021. The post is captioned: "Iranian F-4D Phantom flying in formation!" The aircraft and the background in the TikTok video match that in the Instagram post.

TikTok video (left) uses mirrored close-up footage of Iranian military aircraft that matches original footage from a 2021 drill (right) (TikTok/Facebook/Screenshots)

According to a local news outlet, Iran resumed their annual two-day drills involving military exercises like missile firing and mid-air refueling in November 2020. Since the video footage was released a year later, it was likely part of the annual drill. 

The verdict 

A TikTok video claims to show footage of Iranian military aircraft entering Syrian and Iraqi military space prior to the country's aerial attack on Israel. However, the footage it uses is from older, unrelated military exercises, with one dating back to 2021. Therefore, we have rated this claim as false. 

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