Photojournalist: Iran’s Photographers are Forced to Work in Secret

Photojournalist Iran's Photographers are Forced to Work in Secret
Photojournalist: Iran’s Photographers are Forced to Work in Secret



An award-winning photojournalist who fled Iran in fear for his life says many young Iranians working for Iran’s state-sponsored press are now working “under the table” to ensure the truth about their country is made known.


Reza Deghati, 68, took his first photographs aged 14 and would “publish” his photos in secret by fixing them to the gates of Tehran University during the reign of the last Shah of Iran.


Like scores of other journalists he faced brutal suppression both in the Shah’s time and in the new Islamic Republic after 1979, which forced him to leave his country of birth for Paris in 1981.


IranWire’s new documentary, Iran’s Bloody Friday: A Photographer Remembers, sheds light on the untold story of two young journalists who had to do the same.


Javad Montazeri and Asieh Amini doggedly published photographs and reports about the July 9, 1999 attack by the security forces on Tehran University dormitory, during which a number of students were killed, and the clashes on the streets that followed.


For their efforts, they were harassed and intimidated by the authorities and eventually decided to begin a new life in Europe.


The incidents related in the film took place after the election of President Mohammed Khatami, which ushered in a fleeting period of hope that real democratic reforms might follow in Iran.


Deghati tells IranWire that on viewing the film, he was struck by the relative freedom Montazeri and Amini seemed to have enjoyed – despite the danger they were in.


“After the Revolution,” he said, “we had a few months of total freedom. We photographers were going around and taking pictures, and everybody was happy and praising us for what we were doing. But three months later, the government suddenly had a total change of heart – against journalists. This came from [Supreme Leader] Khomeini himself.”


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