A Republican congressman has shared a fake photo of Barack Obama shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, then attacked critics and reporters who pointed out to him that it was not real.
The doctored image was shared by Arizona Republican Paul Gosar, who posted it on his official Twitter account on Monday with the message, “The world is a better place without these guys in power.”
As Business Insider noted, the photo could have never taken place as Obama and Rouhani never met, and the latter is actually still in power as the president of Iran. The original shot of the former U.S. president was taken with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was edited out and replaced by an image of Rouhani.
Though many attacked Gosar for sharing a fake image, he shot back at critics and implied that he knew the upload was fake and meant to share it anyway. In response to a reporter who pointed out the post’s inaccuracy, Gosar posted a message claiming he was not trying to portray an accurate image but instead voice his displeasure with Barack Obama.
“To the dim witted reporters like @dmedin11:
Gosar did not address the fact that Rouhani is still in power, and it was not clear if he understood that the Iranian leader was not only alive but still the president of his country.
The world is a better place without these guys in power. pic.twitter.com/gDoXQu9vO5
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) January 6, 2020
The attack against Obama appeared to echo the arguments from the Trump administration blaming Obama for the quickly unraveling situation with Iran. After Trump ordered a military strike that killed a top Iranian military leader, the country has vowed retribution and Iraqi allies are calling for the United States to withdraw troops from the country.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Obama planted the seeds for the conflict when he tried to appease Iran and said without evidence that the Iran nuclear deal ended up funding regional terrorism.
“We’re trying to correct for what was the Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran,” Pompeo said on ABC News’ This Week, via USA Today.
“This is a regime that has been acting against America for an awfully long time. And we are suffering from eight years of neglect and we’re trying to push it back. We’re trying to contain them,” he added.
After the American strike this week, Iran said it would no longer comply with the nuclear deal.