Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) shared a fake image on Twitter showed former President Barack Obama and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – appearing to be on amicable terms.
The photoshopped image featured Obama and Rouhani purportedly shaking hands with one another, stating, “The world is a better place without these guys in power.” The two leaders have never met in person.
The tweet comes amid escalating regional tensions between the United States and Iran stemming from President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport, after U.S. Intelligence, followed him for months.
Trump is sending thousands of more troops into the Middle East.
Funeral processions were held for Soleimani throughout Iraq, and the state has declared him a martyr.
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Gosar shared the fake image over his personal Twitter account. The picture had been circulating the internet, before Gosar’s Twitter share, for years. The distribution of the phony media dates back to around 2015 when a super PAC supporting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) used the image in a Wisconsin television advertisement, which attacked the 2015 P5+1 nuclear deal with world powers – UK, France, China, Russia and Germany. Johnson had depicted the nuclear agreement as a “toothless argument that makes us less safe.”
Following the assassination of Soleimani, however, Iran stated on Sunday that it would no longer honor its ceiling agreement on uranium enrichment, which was agreed to under Obama, in the long-term P51+ nuclear program.
Although Obama left office in 2017, Rouhani remains in power as the President of Iran. Many viewers responded to Gosar’s tweet, telling him that it had been doctored. Some suggested the possibility that Gosar had confused the Iranian president with Soleimani.
The original, and unaltered, photograph had been taken back in 2011. It showed Obama meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is illustrated, here:
In defense, Gosar took to social media and tweeted, “No one said this wasn’t photoshopped. No one said the president of Iran was dead. No one said Obama met with Rouhani in person. The Tweet says the world is a better place without either of them in power.”