IRAN: Appeal for Greek journalist’s release

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The parents of detained Greek journalists Iason Athanasiadis today issued an appeal for his release in which they emphasized his love and respect for Iran, according to the Athens News Agency.

“His work serves no purpose other than the fair and humane coverage of life in the many countries where he has worked,’ Polymnia and Georgios Athanasiadis said in the statement . “He has a particular love of Iran, and a deep respect for its cultural and religious traditions.”


Although the circumstances remain murky, Greek officials have confirmed that Athanasiadis was detained in Tehran last week while covering the outcome of the disputed Iranian election for the Washington Times.

Earlier this year, Athanasiadis was in Los Angeles to launch an exhibit of more than 50 of his documentary photographs at the Craft and Folk Art Museum called, “Exploring the Other: Contemporary Iran through the lens of Iason Athanasiadis.”

He told the Times, ‘I wanted to use this opportunity to show how varied Iran is — what it’s really like. A lot of people don’t know that Iran is the birthplace of Sufism, the most lenient form of Islam.’

The museum has joined in the appeals for Athanasiadis’ release.

“Iason sought to humanize a nation and its people largely demonized in the corporate press by living amongst Iranians, learning fluent Farsi, and respecting the culture and history of the nation,” the museum’s executive director, Maryna Hrushetska, said in a statement. “ His poignant photographs and reporting demonstrated the highest standards of journalism in a great time of media bias.”

— Amber Smith in Los Angeles

This post has been edited from an earlier version.

Image: This photograph was among those in the exhibit “Exploring the Other: Contemporary Iran through the lens of Iason Athanasiadis,’ which ran from January 25 - March 29, 2009 in Los Angeles. Two young snowboarders with matching scarlet highlights throw caution to the winds as they sail up the Shemshak ski-piste on a Shah-era lift in the mountains behind Tehran. Islamic regulations are more laxly enforced at holiday resorts such as Shemshak and Kish Island. Credit: ‘Craft and Folk Art Museum’