The Iranian mullahcracy doctored a photograph to add a fourth missile as part of its public-relations efforts to show strength, according to photographic and military experts.  The deception covered up the failure of one missile to fire, which would have given a less-than-impressive demonstration of their capabilities.  The blogosphere took the lead in exposing this fauxtography, as Michelle Malkin notes:

LGF’s Charles Johnson and Brian Ledbetter have the rundown on the digitally enhanced Iranian missiles in an image distributed by Agence France-Press. See also: Kamangir, Blackfive, Pat Dollard, EU Referendum, Ace, Jim Hoft, Suitably Flip.

From AP:

The photo on the Sepah News site was replaced Thursday with an image showing three missiles — which appear to be the same as the earlier photo. In place of the fourth missile, however, the photo showed one still on the ground in its launch position and what appears to be a vehicle nearby.

The photo was used by the AP. The image with four launches was no longer available in the Sepah site.

Fitzpatrick, a former State Department official who followed arms control issues, believes the photo was manipulated after the missile malfunctioned.

“They had a rocket launch and one failed,” he said. “They have had other tests that have succeeded, but Iran tends to exaggerate its capabilities.”

Three out of four missiles could still ruin a perfectly good afternoon, but the failure of the fourth to launch does seem rather embarrassing.  After all, while this is rocket science, it’s not exactly cutting-edge at this moment in time.  Most nations, and even the terrorist state of Hamasistan in Gaza, can reliably launch missiles from mobile platforms now.

The failure of the missile means less than the clumsy, embarrassing effort to hide it from the world.  Now they don’t just look inept with missiles — they look positively childish about it, and even more inept with Photoshop.

Update: E-mailers are telling me that the New York Times blog, The Lede, is taking credit for exposing this, even though Charles Johnson at LGF caught it first.  Fox News credits The Lede.  They apparently didn’t do much research on the story.