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Iranian news agency picks up satirical article as fact

CHICAGO -- A joke by the satirical newspaper The Onion appears to have gotten lost in translation.

An Iranian news agency picked up — as fact — a story from the paper about a supposed survey showing an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. But it was made up, like everything in the just-for-laughs newspaper, which is headquartered in Chicago.

The English-language service of Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency republished the story Friday, several days after it appeared in The Onion.

The Iranian version copied the original word-for-word, even including a made-up quote from a fictional West Virginia resident who says he'd rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because “he takes national defense seriously, and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.”

Homosexual acts are punishable by death in Iran.

The Iranian version of the article leaves out only The Onion's description of Ahmadinejad as “a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed.”

The story appeared to have been taken down by about mid-day, Chicago time.

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