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In the wake of the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, social media users have been sharing a deceptively edited video of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that takes her comments as a presidential candidate out of context.
"I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran," begins the video of Clinton in one such Facebook post published on Jan. 4. "And I want them to understand that because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society, because whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. If I’m the president, we will attack Iran."
The video then cuts to footage of a bomb exploding.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Clinton made the comments during a 2008 interview on ABC’s "Good Morning America," but there are a few things the Facebook post doesn’t make clear.
First, Clinton doesn’t repeat, "if I’m president, we will attack Iran," as the video makes it seem.
Second, the video excludes context. At the time, a Reuters report on the ABC interview said that Clinton "wanted to make clear to Tehran what she was prepared to do as president in hopes that this warning would deter any Iranian nuclear attack against the Jewish state."
During a presidential debate a week earlier, Clinton promised "massive retaliation" against any Iranian attack on Israel, according to Reuters.
During the ABC interview, Clinton says: "Well, the question was if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be."
She then says, "And I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran," which is about where the Facebook video starts.
French broadcaster France 24 posted other clips from that interview online that give more context to the comments that appear on Facebook.
"Whatever stage of development they might be," Clinton says, "in their nuclear weapons program, in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That’s a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic."
Her comments drew criticism from her opponent, Barack Obama.
In a separate ABC interview, Obama said: "One of the things that we’ve seen over the last several years is a bunch of talk using words like ‘obliterate.’ It doesn’t actually produce good results."
As Democrats criticize President Donald Trump for ordering the airstrike, Facebook users are remarking that Clinton’s comments "didn’t age well."
We’ll leave that to you to decide. But the video is deceptively edited, taking her comments out of context and repeating one of her statements at the end of the clip as a bomb explodes.
We rate it Half True.
Facebook post, Jan. 4, 2020
The New York Times, The killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani: What we know since the U.S. airstrike, Jan. 3, 2020
France 24, Position of Hillary Clinton on Iran, visited Jan. 10, 2020
Reuters, Clinton says U.S. could "totally obliterate" Iran, April 22, 2008
FactCheck.org, Video of Clinton on Iran taken out of context, Jan. 9, 2020
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