Photo of Iran ex-president Ahmadinejad shared with false 'working as shepherd' claim

Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains a member of the powerful Expediency Discernment Council as of June 13, 2024, contrary to posts that falsely portrayed him living a quiet life as a shepherd after his time in office. The posts misrepresented a picture that previously appeared in a newspaper report about Ahmadinejad enjoying a walk on his 60th birthday.

"A loved legendary man! The former two-term president of Iran is currently volunteering as a shepherd," read a Bengali-language Facebook post that shared the photo on May 24, 2024.

"He was a two-term president for one of the world's richest and most powerful countries. At present, he is volunteering as a shepherd. He even donated the pension money he received as former president."

Screenshot of a Facebook post sharing the false claim, taken on June 12, 2024

The Facebook post attracted more than 800 shares and a flurry of comments praising Ahmadinejad for his purported lifestyle change. 

The photo circulated in similar Facebook posts here and here following the death of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024.

Former hardline president Ahmadinejad, who served from 2005 to 2013, was excluded from entering the presidential race to replace him.

Birthday walk

A reverse image search on Google found a wider crop of the photo in a 2016 article which said it showed Ahmadinejad enjoying a walk on his 60th birthday.

According to the report by Iranian newspaper Qudsonline, the former leader visited the village of Kandlos in Iran's Mazandaran province on October 28, 2016 and toured the heights with Dr. Abdolreza Sheikhul-Islami, one of his former ministers (archived link).


A journalist at the Persian-language news channel Iran International Pooja Jahandar also posted the photo on social media site X on October 29, 2016 (archived link).

He also said it showed Ahmadinejad walking in Kandlos.

While Ahmadinejad is known for his modest lifestyle, he has not retired from public life following his time in office.

He is listed as a member of Iran's Expediency Discernment Council, a powerful body appointed by the country's Supreme Leader with supervisory powers over all branches of the government (archived link).

Ahmadinejad is also a professor at the Iran University of Science and Technology's School of Civil Engineering.

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