1980 Photo Contest, Spot News, 2nd prize

Jahangir Razmi

United Press International

27 August, 1979

A government firing squad executes nine Kurdish rebels and two officers of the deposed Shah's police force after summary trials. The next day, another 21 Kurdish rebels and military deserters were executed. At first, Kurdish political organisations had supported the revolution against the Shah, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in February 1979. However, the relationship between the new government and the Kurds soon became fraught with difficulties, as the new Islamic republic did not make any provision for regional autonomy that the Kurds so much desired. The crisis deepened after Kurds were denied seats in the assembly of experts who were to write the new constitution. Armed conflict broke out between armed Kurdish factions and the Iranian revolutionary government's security forces and led to the declaration by Ayatollah Khomeini of a jihad against separatism in Iranian Kurdistan. Although United Press International (UPI) submitted the photo to the World Press Photo contest, they did not commission it. The photo was commissioned by the Iranian newspaper Ettela’at, which published the image on 28 August 1979 without a credit line, to protect the photographer’s safety. A never identified staff member of UPI in Iran was tipped off about the photo and supplied with a copy by Ettela'at, which he transmitted to UPI’s European office. From there, the image was sent out in the world over the wire. Twenty-six years after the event, the photographer’s name, Jahangir Razmi, was revealed in The Wall Street Journal on 2 December 2006.

About the photographer

Jahangir Razmi

Technical information

Focal length
28 mm
Nikon FE

This image is collected in