UK & World News
Iran News Agency Falls For Onion Spoof
An Iranian news agency has apparently been fooled into publishing a made-up poll from a satirical US website that claimed many Americans prefer Iran's leader to Barack Obama.
Fars News Agency reproduced word-for-word the article by The Onion, a spoof news organisation based in Chicago.
The article cited a fake poll which found 77% of white, rural workers would rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for his tirades against the West, than with Mr Obama.
It quoted a made-up American called Dale Swiderski, who said: "I like him (Mr Ahmadinejad) better."
He is also quoted as saying Mr Ahmadinejad "takes national defence seriously and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does".
Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and is punishable in some cases by death.
Fars reproduced the Onion article without crediting the source. It later appeared to have been removed from the Fars website.
The Onion's editor, Will Tracy, released a statement joking that Fars was The Onion's "Middle East bureau".
He said: "The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran's Finest News Source on their superb reportage."
Iran is not the first country to take The Onion a little too seriously.
Eight years ago China's state-run Beijing Evening News reported the website's article that the US Congress was threatening to leave Washington DC.
Other spoof stories currently on The Onion's site include a report in which Mr Ahmadinejad is depicted glowing green and telling UN delegates he is an actual weapon of mass destruction.
Another article carries the headline: "Congress Concerned About Weirdo Senator's Increasingly Violent Legislation."