A video shows a group of people watching shots being fired from one direction. The video is shared on social media with the text, “The Iranians stood war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Iran and watched the ongoing war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and both countries have borders with Iran.

A Facebook user posted this video on October 18. (archived link)

The Iranians stood on the top of the mountain in Iran and watched the ongoing war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and both countries have borders with Iran.

Posted by Nguyen Bao Tri on Saturday, 17 October 2020

Jammu and Kashmir-based news website Gulistan News posted the video with the same claim on YouTube. (archived link) It was also tweeted by Renuka Jain.

Prior to this, the video was massively viral on Facebook with Spanish text, “Atracción turística en Irán, las personas van a la cima de la montaña, a observar la guerra entre #Azerbaiyán y #Armenia”. One such video had close to four million views and 7,000 shares. (archived link)

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“Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a six-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended in 1994 with a ceasefire but no peace treaty,” reported BBC. According to The Washington Times, “Nearly 800 Armenians have died since the war began September 27, as per official reports; the Azerbaijani side hasn’t announced casualties, but they’re also believed to be heavy.” Attempts to broker two cease-fires by France and Russia failed and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet foreign ministers of the two countries at war on October 23.

Video unrelated to the recent conflict

After performing multiple reverse image searches on Google and Yandex we found that this video was circulating in November 2019. A YouTube user uploaded the video with the title ‘BM-21 GRAD (БМ-21 “Град”) – Rapid Fire’ on November 27, 2019. As per the defence and security website, Army Recognition, BM-21 Grad is a Soviet truck-mounted with 122-mm multiple rocket launcher.

It was also uploaded by a Russian Twitter user on November 18, 2019. Thus, the social media claim that video is recent is false.

In the fourth second of the video, we can see a man wear a hoodie with ‘Russia’ written on it.

We also found a screenshot on Chinese website QQ (accessed using VPN in Opera browser) along with a Chinese caption suggesting the video is from Rocket Forces and Artillery Day held in Russia each year.

Fact-checks from AFP and Brazil-based E-Farsa also concluded that the video is from Russia’s Missile Forces and Artillery Day which is celebrated annually on November 19. The reports found that viral video was uploaded by YouTube user БОГ РАТА on November 17, 2019. As per AFP, БОГ РАТА‘s video description included a report by Russia-owned website Russia Beyond. However, the video description no longer exists. Russia Beyond stated that video is from 2019 Missile Forces and Artillery Day at Lushki military range.

Therefore an old video from Russia was widely circulated on social media with the claim that Iranians are watching the on-going conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia from a mountain top. This claim was initially viral with Spanish text.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.