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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 7, 2020

This photo of Barack Obama shaking hands with Hassan Rouhani is doctored

It wasn’t so long ago that a super PAC supporting U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., aired an ad that used a doctored photo that appeared to show then-President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiling and shaking hands. 

But it’s perhaps been long enough, because on Jan. 6, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., tweeted the image. 

"The world is a better place without these guys in power," he wrote.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

As the New York Times reported, Obama and Rouhani have never met in person. Rouhani is still in power.

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The original image, taken by Reuters photographer Jason Reed in 2011, shows Obama smiling and shaking hands with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

As people responded to Gosar’s tweet to point out that the image of Obama and Rouhani was manipulated, he responded that "no one said this wasn’t photoshopped."

"No one said Obama met with Rouhani in person," he added on Twitter. 

But the image, which has been reshared on social media since Gasar’s tweet, suggests that they did. When we fact-checked the Ron Johnson-supporting Restoration PAC for using it in 2015, we rated it Pants on Fire. 

More than four years later, the image is still smoking. Pants on Fire!


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This photo of Barack Obama shaking hands with Hassan Rouhani is doctored

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