2020 photo shared as former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's funeral procession

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
May 27 2024

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2020 photo shared as former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's funeral procession

Screenshots of the viral claim that it shows an image from the funeral of late Iranian President Raisi. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral image is not from Iranian President Raisi's recent funeral procession. It is from 2020 and shows Iranian General Qasem Soleimani's funeral.

Claim ID 8c8f2a50

What's the claim?

An image depicting an aerial view of a truck surrounded by a massive crowd has gone viral with the claim that it shows the funeral procession of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024.

The image was posted on the X platform (formerly Twitter) with the caption, "The West says Raisi was unpopular in Iran. I saw millions of people at his funeral," and garnered approximately 529,000 views. Archives of such posts can be found here and here

Screenshot of viral claims. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this claim is false. The image is actually from January 2020 and shows the funeral of an Iranian official, Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.

What we found

Upon conducting a reverse image search, we discovered that the picture originated from an article by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iran's official news agency. The article, dated January 6, 2020, reported on the crowds in Mashhad, a city in northeast Iran, welcoming the remains of the late Lieutenant-General Qasem Soleimani. General Soleimani, an Iranian military officer who served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was assassinated on January 3, 2020, in Baghdad by a U.S.-targeted airstrike.

Screenshot from the Islamic Republic News Agency report depicting mourners surrounding the coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others during a funeral procession. (Source: the Islamic Republic News Agency/Modified by Logically Facts)

On January 5, the bodies of General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandi (the acting Commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units), and other victims of the U.S. airstrike were transported from Iraq to Ahvaz, a southern city in Iran. Before this, funeral ceremonies were held in Baghdad, Karbala, and Najaf, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, officials, and religious and political figures, the report said. 

The IRNA report also described how Soleimani's remains were transported to Mashhad in northeastern Iran, where millions of people gathered from the city and surrounding areas. The sheer number of mourners was so vast that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could not transfer the body to Tehran until after midnight. The IRNA report included additional photos from the funeral procession.

A nearly identical photo, uploaded on Alamy, shows the same packed streets during a funeral procession held on January 5, 2020, in Mashhad. The image description on Alamy reads: "Coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others who were killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike are carried on a truck surrounded by mourners during a funeral procession, in the city of Mashhad, Iran, Sunday, January 5, 2020." The image is credited to photographer Mohammad Hossein Thaghi, with contributions from Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photos.

Guardian News (archive) also published a video report about Soleimani's funeral on its YouTube channel. The thumbnail of the video appears similar to the viral image, showing the truck carrying the coffins of Soleimani and others killed in the U.S. drone attack from different angles. 

In contrast, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash, was laid to rest at the shrine of Imam Reza, a revered figure in Shia Islam, in Mashhad on May 23, 2024. Large crowds gathered in one of the city's main streets ahead of the ceremony, as reported by BBC News.

The verdict

The image claiming to depict a massive gathering at Iranian President Raisi's funeral is actually from 2020 and shows the funeral of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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