2021 Photo Contest, General News, 3rd Prize

Ceremony to Mourn Qasem Soleimani in Tehran


Newsha Tavakolian

Magnum Photos for Time

04 January, 2020

Women mourn the death of Major General Qasem Soleimani, at a commemoration service in Tehran, Iran.

Major General Qasem Soleimani (62) was killed on 3 January at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures, in an air strike ordered by US president Donald Trump. The US had pursued Soleimani for years, claiming that operations in neighboring Iraq had killed hundreds of American military personnel, and the Pentagon said the air strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. Much of Soleimani’s career had been spent at the top of Iran’s Quds Force— the foreign operations wing of the elite paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. In recent years, the US had seen him as the mastermind behind Iran’s expanded influence in proxy conflicts stretching from Iraq and Lebanon to Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Some regional analysts considered him to be the second most powerful man in Iran, after the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Soleimani was dubbed a ‘living martyr of the revolution’ by the supreme leader. Millions of Iranians attended funeral ceremonies for him.

About the photographer

Newsha Tavakolian

Newsha Tavakolian is a self-taught photojournalist and documentary photographer, currently based in Tehran and working with Magnum Photos. She began working professionally for...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length

This image is collected in