Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show 'Iranian Capital Tehran Has Increased Security Levels' -- It Shows A Temporary U.S. Pier For Humanitarian Aid In Gaza

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show 'Iranian Capital Tehran Has Increased Security Levels' -- It Shows A Temporary U.S. Pier For Humanitarian Aid In Gaza US Pier, Gaza

Does a photograph show a port in the "Iranian capital Tehran" that "has increased security levels," as a post on X claimed? No, that's not true: Tehran, Iran's capital city, is landlocked. The image in question showed Trident Pier, a temporary pier in Gaza established by U.S. Central Command to offload aid for Palestinian civilians, a defense official confirmed to Lead Stories. A screenshot included in the post on X was taken from an earlier video that explicitly located the "floating pier" days after it opened in May 2024.

The claim originated in a post on X on May 19, 2024, (archived here) with a caption that read:

The Iranian capital Tehran has increased security levels.

This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 10.07.13.png

(Source: X screenshot taken Mon May 20 10:07:13 UTC 2024)

A Central Command (CENTCOM) defense official confirmed to Lead Stories in an email received on May 21, 2024, that the above image shows Trident Pier, a temporary pier in Gaza established by the agency to offload human aid for Palestinian civilians.

As a community note connected with the post above indicated, Tehran is the landlocked capital city of Iran. According to Google Maps (archived here), it is located (archived here) by road about 88 miles south of Chalus, the nearest Iranian city on the Caspian Sea.

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 11.45.11 AM.png

(Source: Google Maps screenshot taken Mon May 20 17:45:11 UTC 2024)

Lead Stories pinpointed both Tehran and Gaza in the below map on Google Earth:

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 12.12.12 PM.png

(Source: Google Earth screenshot taken Mon May 20 18:12:12: UTC 2024)

The images in question showed Trident Pier, a temporary pier in Gaza established by CENTCOM to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians. As the community note also indicated, the photos were shared earlier to X in a post published on 28, 2024 (archived here) by the account OSINT Aggregator, which included the below caption:

A C-RAM (Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar) system is being used at the floating pier off the beach in Gaza. Image from the video in the first picture showing the C-RAM on the beach and then a pic of a C-RAM mounted in a truck. These systems are field by the United States and Israel.

As identified in the aforementioned OSINT Aggregator post, the screengrab was taken from a video posted on May 18, 2023 (archived here), by the verified account of Joe Truzman (archived here), a senior research analyst for the non-profit Foundation For Defense Democracies' (archived here) publication, Long War Journal (archived here).

The video posted by Truzman also identified the photo location as having been captured in Gaza:

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 12.13.54 PM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken Mon May 20 18:13:54 UTC 2024)

U.S. President Joe Biden announced his military directive to construct the pier during his State of the Union Address (archived here) on March 7, 2024. He said, in part:

... directing the U.S. military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters.

No U.S. boots will be on the ground.

This temporary pier would enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day.

In mid-March, the specialized Army unit tasked with establishing the pier set sail for Gaza, wrote the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in a March 12, 2024, news release (archived here). Construction of the floating pier by U.S. military personnel began the following month, noted an April 25, 2024, DoD news release (archived here). The department described the site as "a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver critical humanitarian assistance."

After high seas (archived here) and weather delays (archived here) in early May, CENTCOM announced in a May 16, 2024, news releases release (archived here) that the floating pier had been anchored to the beach in Gaza.

"As part of this effort, no U.S. troops entered Gaza. Trucks carrying humanitarian assistance are expected to begin moving ashore in the coming days. The United Nations will receive the aid and coordinate its distribution into Gaza," concluded the release.

Lead Stories emailed CENTCOM and DoD for comment. We will update this post accordingly.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to Gaza can be found here.


  • 2024-05-21T18:43:41Z 2024-05-21T18:43:41Z
    Adds quote by U.S. defense official.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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