FACT CHECK: Post Claims To Show Kurdish Businessman With An Israeli Spy

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Facebook by Press TV, an Iranian state media outlet, claims to show a Kurdish businessman with an Israeli spy.

Verdict: False

The image has been photoshopped. Press TV later updated its article to remove the images, though it still stands by its story.

Fact Check:

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched ballistic missiles into Iraq and Syria Jan. 15, claiming to target terrorists and an Israeli “spy HQ,” according to Reuters. Reuters reported that four civilians, including Peshraw Dizayee, a Kurdish businessman.

Press TV, an Iranian state media outlet, published an article claiming that Dizayee was an Israeli asset in Erbil. The outlet also published images claiming to show Dizayee next to Israeli spies, such as the one in the Facebook post. The article connected Dizayee to Elan Nissim, the founder of Tasa Elite, a company that claims to have 900 “agents” around the world.

This image, however, has been photoshopped. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the original image appears to have been shared on Facebook in January 2020. The original image does not show Dizayee, who was added to the image in the Press TV Facebook post.

The Tasa Elite Facebook page also addressed the claim, saying the Iranian government was “stupid.”

“Iran regime are so fucking stupid. This is the horse photo shop I ever seen. Thanks God they are the way they are in English 0 braine stupid. Time to eliminate this regime forever. Coming soon!” the post reads. Kurdistan 24 also debunked the image in a Jan. 20 article. The Press TV article had claimed to show Dizayee with a Russian rabbi, though the actual image does not show this. Omar Majid Dizayee, the brother of Peshraw Dizayee, also denied that the deceased businessman was involved in oil.

“He did not work in the field of buying, selling, extracting or transporting oil,” Dizayee said to Kurdistan 24. (RELATED: Did Pope Francis Say That Jesus Was Born During A Census Taken By King David?)

Press TV later issued an update, saying it removed the photoshopped images but still stood by the story.

“Update: Some pictures previously published in this article, received from a security source, have been duly removed as Press TV could not independently verify their authenticity. However, we stand by the story and information provided in it related to Dizayee and his accomplices killed in the January 15 strike by the IRGC,” the update reads.

The Kurdistan Region Security Council denounced the IRGC attacks, saying in a Jan. 15 statement that the attack was a “clear violation” of Iraqi and Kurdish sovereignty.”

“The Pasdaran army has announced that this attack was on some of the opposition groups of Iran. We refuse this excuse, unfortunately, they always use unnecessary excuses to attack Erbil and Erbil as a stable area, never been a source of threat to any party.This is a clear violation of the dictatorship of the region and Iraq and the federal government and the international community should not be silent about these crimes,” the statement partially reads.

Check Your Fact reached out to the State Department, the Kurdish Representative to the United States and the Iranian Representative to the United Nations for comment and will update this article if a response is provided.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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