Iran: The Photos That Maddened The Mullahs

But I was told it would be removed. When I asked my editor why, he said that because of the [combination] of the picture of Khomeini, the Iranian flag, a shirtless worker, and the poverty shown, it couldn’t be published.”

Iranian documentary photographer Milad Alaei, a former employee of the semiofficial Fars news agency, recently fled Iran and is now seeking asylum in Austria. Alaei told RFE/RL that he decided to leave after his editor assaulted him. He filed a complaint but was met with threats and legal charges, including “disrupting public opinion” and “ties with media opposed to the Islamic establishment.”

In an interview with RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari, Alaei said that photographers in Iran are accustomed to censorship of their work and know which subjects are considered off-limits. He said the Fars news agency is considered more restrictive than many media outlets because it is affiliated with the hard-line Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Alaei also noted that even formerly acceptable subjects can fall under a media blackout. For example, Iran’s judiciary has banned all media from publishing photos of, or even mentioning, reformist former President Mohammad Khatami.

Here are some of Alaei’s photos that have been barred from publication in Iran.  (More at the link)

Iran-refused-2I was told that such pictures can never get published because there shouldn’t be any flaws in a photo of the Leader. Photos of the founder of the Islamic Republic should give the impression of glory and greatness. They objected to the decay next to the image of Khomeini.”


Iran-refused-3In this photo, the two women on the right side were considered to be insufficiently veiled. Alaei’s editors said the photo could be published only if the women were cropped out of the image.