Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show April 13, 2024 Retaliatory Attack On Iran's Capital Tehran -- It's An Old Picture, Mislabelled

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show April 13, 2024 Retaliatory Attack On Iran's Capital Tehran -- It's An Old Picture, Mislabelled Old Photo

Does a photo on social media show a retaliatory strike on the Iranian capital of Tehran, following Iran's drone attack on Israel on April 13, 2024? No, that's not true: The picture is not from 2024. It is a photo from the Getty Images catalogue, taken in June 2021 during an oil refinery fire south of Tehran.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on X (formerly Twitter) by Joe Roberts on April 13, 2024. The post's caption said:


Massive explosion reported in Tehran.

The response has begun.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Sat Apr 13 21:40:07 2024 UTC)

The photograph

The photograph in the social media post had nothing to do with hostilities between Iran and Israel in April 2024. Lead Stories discovered the picture was from an oil refinery fire near the Iranian capital on June 2, 2021.

Lead Stories found the photo by doing a reverse image search on TinEye (archived here), an image search and recognition website. The results led us to an Associated Press story published in The Globe and Mail (archived here) that included the same picture. It appears below:


(Source: The Globe and Mail screenshot taken on Sat Apr 13 22:30:39 2024 UTC)

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Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Iran and Israel can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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