Monday, August 30, 2010

Ali Behzadi, Senior Iranian Journalist, Dies in Tehran

Ali Behzadi: 1925-2010

By Nader Uskowi

Ali Behzadi, the former editor of Sepid-O-Siah, and one of Iran’s most prominent journalists, died yesterday in Tehran at the age of 85. He started the magazine in 1953 that soon became the country’s leading journal. The magazine’s social commentaries finally caused it to be closed by the Shah’s government in 1974.

I first met Mr. Behzadi in 1978 at the height of the revolution in Iran. I was trying to start my own daily, Neday-e Azadi, and he wanted to revive his Sepid-O-Siah ("Black & White"). We met regularly to compare notes and find a suitable printing house to publish our journals. I beat him on that after Ayandegan, then Tehran’s most prominent daily, allowed me to print Neday-e Azadi at their presses after their early morning run. It took Behzadi couple of more months to publish Sepid-O-Siah. He would later joke with me, in his sweet Rashti accent, that my “leftist” credentials this time actually came to my rescue.

Sepid-O-Siah, and Neday-e Azadi, were closed down, this time by the Islamic Revolutionary authorities, barely a year after their publication.

Behzadi later started a new journal, Danestaniha, with his daughter as publisher, which also became immensely popular during the Iran-Iraq war for its extensive coverage of military hardware and war development.

Uskowi on Iran extends its sincere condolences to Behzadi’s family and to all Iranian journalists on the loss of one our senior colleagues and mentors.