Fake News: Photo Does Not Show U.S. President Obama Shaking Hands With Iranian President Rouhani

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Photo Does Not Show U.S. President Obama Shaking Hands With Iranian President Rouhani

Does a widely circulated viral photo show President Obama shaking hands with Iranian President Rouhani? No, that's not true: A digitally manipulated image that has been online since at least 2013 shows Obama meeting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2011, but with Rouhani in the picture instead of Singh.

This is the manipulated photo in question:


Here is the original:

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Nusa Dua, Bali

Note how the orange part of the flag of India was replaced with a green bar to make it more resemble the Iranian flag.

TinEye, a search engine for images, detected versions of the modified photo as far back as 2013:


TinEye is an image search and recognition company. We are experts in computer vision, pattern recognition, neural networks, and machine learning.

In January of 2020, U.S. Congresman Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, used the fake image in a tweet (archived here) that got over 40,000 comments:

  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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