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22 Jan, 2020 13:34

Muddle-Eastern diplomacy: White House confuses Iran and Iraq in YouTube blunder

Muddle-Eastern diplomacy: White House confuses Iran and Iraq in YouTube blunder

As President Donald Trump sat down with the world’s movers and shakers at Davos, White House staff clearly weren’t paying much attention, mistaking Iraqi President Barham Salih for his Iranian counterpart.

“President Trump Participates in a Bilateral Meeting with the President of the Republic of Iran,” the title of a YouTube video published by the White House on Wednesday proclaimed. 

Hell had not frozen over, however, and Trump had not secretly met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unbeknownst to the world’s media. Instead, the video clearly showed Trump meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Indeed, Trump clearly introduces “the president of Iraq” in the first three seconds of the clip.

But the staffer who titled the video can perhaps be forgiven for his or her mistake. After all, they’re far from alone. As tensions soared between the US and Iran earlier this month and war seemed inevitable, a Politico poll found that 77 percent of Americans couldn’t locate the Islamic Republic on a map of the Middle East. On a zoomed-out map of the world, only two percent of respondents correctly guessed Iran’s location.

To be fair, at least they didn’t mix up Austria and Australia, a mistake made not only by George W. Bush in 2007 but also CNN in 2016, when it announced Australia was building a fence along its non-existent border with Slovenia.

Whatever the reason, the White House realized its mistake and corrected the video’s title later on Wednesday morning.

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