Forbes cover calling Iran's Supreme Leader ‘most powerful man in the world' is fake

By: Tahil Ali
April 22 2024

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Forbes cover calling Iran's Supreme Leader ‘most powerful man in the world' is fake

Social media post claims Forbes cover featuring Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

Forbes magazine has not published any cover stories featuring Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or referred to him as the 'Most Powerful Man in the World.'

Claim ID 6b1c0841

What is the claim?

Several users on social media platforms, such as X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram, have circulated a photo of an alleged Forbes magazine cover featuring Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The purported cover, dated April 15, 2024, bears the title "The Most Powerful Man in the World." Although some of these posts have been removed, archives remain accessible here, here, and here.

X posts claim to show a Forbes magazine cover featuring Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Source X/Modified by Logically Facts)

These posts emerged in the wake of Iran's recent attack on Israel, following an attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, which Iran attributed to Israel. This incident led to the deaths of two Iranian generals and five officers.

However, the viral image has been fabricated. Forbes magazine did not publish any such cover featuring Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the specified date.

Did Forbes publish any such cover?

We conducted a reverse image search and an advanced keyword search, but neither yielded any credible results from Forbes. We also examined the April-May issues of both the Forbes U.S. edition and Forbes Middle East but found no cover featuring Khamenei.

The U.S. edition's April 2024 issue highlighted billionaire investor Todd Boehly with the title "The World’s Billionaires," while the Middle East edition headlined "The Middle East’s FinTech 50," spotlighting a group of innovators.


Cover of Forbes U.S. and Middle East edition for April/May 2024 issues. (Source: Screenshot/Forbes)

We further reviewed the April 2024 issues of all other available Forbes editions published worldwide and found no such cover. Moreover, Forbes' list of "The World’s Most Powerful People" ranks Khamenei at 17.

Interestingly, the photo of Khamenei used in the counterfeit cover dates back to October 2015 and is available on the website of the Office of the Supreme Leader.

We contacted Forbes magazine for comment. A spokesperson confirmed, "The image in question is not a real Forbes cover and was never published on our platforms."

What discrepancies did we spot?

We noted significant differences between the layout of the alleged photo and an authentic Forbes cover photo. Forbes magazine covers from May 2020 onwards do not include a dateline, unlike the counterfeit image, which prominently displays a dateline at the top.


A comparison of the genuine and fake Forbes cover. (Source: Screenshot/Forbes/Modified by Logically Facts)

Authentic Forbes magazine covers position the masthead at the top and over the individual's image. In contrast, the counterfeit cover places the masthead behind the portrait, with a denser concentration of text at the top.

Some of the recent Forbes cover issues. (Source: Screenshot/Forbes)

Additionally, genuine covers typically feature teaser headlines for other stories included in the issue at the top, unlike the counterfeit image, which solely focuses on a single article.

Cover for Forbes Magazine June/July 2023 and February/March 2024 (Source: Forbes/Modified by Logically Facts)

The verdict

Forbes magazine has not issued a cover featuring Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or labeled him as the 'Most Powerful Man' in the world. We found no evidence of this cover in Forbes' archives, and there are several noticeable discrepancies. Therefore, we have marked this post as fake.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before