Claims that Iran is preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) are based on incorrect analysis of a satellite image showing the new facility at the Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan province.

The claim was first made on 21 January by Israel’s Channel 2 on the basis of an undated EROS-B satellite image of the new facility that was probably taken sometime in 2014. It was then picked up by several other outlets. Channel 2 said the image showed a 27 m missile that was capable of hitting targets “far beyond Europe”.

The facility has been under construction for several years and is presumed to be designed for the Simorgh satellite launch vehicle (SLV) that Iran needs to lift heavier payloads into orbit. The Iran Space Agency announced in October 2014 that it planned to put three satellites into orbit using the Simorgh in the Persian year 1394, which starts on 21 March. […]