The claim: Image shows Barack Obama bowing to Iran leader Ali Khamenei
An Oct. 9 Facebook post (, ) appears to show former President Barack Obama bowing to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“REMEMBER THIS? — It all started here,” reads the post.
Text in the image reads, “Never before has a sitting president ever bowed to a terrorist leader.”
Aon X, formerly Twitter, was reposted more than 2,000 times in five days.
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Our rating: Altered
The image is altered. Two legitimate photographs were used to make it appear as if Obama bowed to Khamenei.
Obama didn’t bow to Khamenei
The image in the Facebook post is a composite of two photographs taken years apart.
Theshows him at the inauguration ceremony for former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was taken Aug. 3, 2005, by AFP photographer Atta Kenare in Tehran, Iran’s capital city.
Thewas taken May 8, 2009, by . It shows Obama in the Oval Office bending down to let a staff member’s son, 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia, touch his hair to see if it felt like his own.
In anfrom May 27, 2022, Obama reconnected with Philadelphia, who at that point was about to . Obama recalled the moment the photo was taken, saying it “embodied one of the hopes that I had when I first started running for office,” that when young people saw someone in the Oval Office who looked like them, “they would see the world open up for them.”
Obama wasduring his first term as president for while meeting Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah in 2009.
and also debunked the claim.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Our fact-check sources:
- AFP, Aug. 3, 2005,
- Flickr, May 8, 2009,
- Pete Souza website, accessed Nov. 13,
- Barack Obama, May 27, 2022,
- The Telegraph, April 8, 2009,
- The Washington Post, May 20, 2017,
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