None other than Corriere della Sera, Italy’s major mainstream newspaper, and one that is quite conservative regarding anything with the Middle East - says the picture is a photo montage, and shows the original picture: a picture of a girl standing in front of Ahmadinejad's car, date and reason unknown, with an open hand, perhaps simply greeting Ahmadinejad. They even comment on the smiling face of the Iranian leader. http://www.corriere.it/esteri/09_giugno_28/iran_foto_simbolo_9cc7d8b4-63ed-11de-baf4-00144f02aabc.shtml
The fake picture was put on Youtube by Secondoprotocollo, which appears to be a very active Italian NGO, with offices in several countries. However, to get to the bottom of things, sometimes all it takes is to look a notch farther down the pole. Just a regular web search engine will lead one to find a critical site, which claims that Secondoprotocollo is a one-man job, entirely run by a certain Franco Londei, and which accuses Secondoprotocollo of having repeatedly made false reports and claims, especially taking photos at random from the web and claiming they represent activists of Secondoprotocollo in dangerous parts of the world.
The critical site appears to be well documented, and I have come across no systematic refutation of the accusations made by the critical site. Others have written (in Italian) about him in the past, and this is the site that seems to know quite a lot about his activities: http://primoprotocollo.altervista.org/index.php . Obviously, I’m not a researcher, and I leave all of that to those who have the time and the expertise, but it certainly does make one wonder. I know nothing of the person, his “movement” nor his aims, and if there is something that people could share to in one way or another bring more light to this strange situation, we welcome the information.
Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. Editor and co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, co-founder of Tlaxcala translations collective. Her personal blog is Peacepalestine.