December 9, 2006KR BlogUncategorized

Iranian Photographer to Receive His Pulitzer from 1980

Firing Squad in Iran

The Pulitzer committee awarded an anonymous photographer the prize in 1980 for his photograph of Iranian firing squads. Jahangir Razmi’s editor withheld his name out of fear for Razmi’s safety:

Mr. Heydari, then 35, had little time to think — the afternoon paper was about to go to print. He says he told himself that the country was conflicted over the killing of the Kurds and angry over censorship. He decided to publish the photograph, although not in the edition distributed in the Kurdistan province, where it would be tantamount to a call to arms. “Considering the political climate, I knew I could get away with it,” Mr. Heydari says.

The Ettela’at editor made another snap decision. The photograph would run with no credit. “I was aware that if I published his name, he would be in danger,” Mr. Heydari says. “I wanted to protect Razmi.”

Earlier this month, the mystery man finally revealed his identity to The Wall Street Journal. After some review, the Pulitzer committee has decided to award him his cash prize and certificate alongside the 2007 winners. Given the political climate in Iran, that Razmi stepped forward at all is an act of extreme bravery. This photograph is a remarkable image from a remarkable man.