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Iranian photographer Reza Deghati receives ordre national du merit

Tehran, 6 June 2005 - Reza Deghati, the Iranian-born photojournalist, has been awarded with the chevalier medal of France's highest honorary decoration, ordre national du merit.

Reza Deghati has been selected for the honor by French President, Jacques Chirac, because of his attempts to revive the freedom of press, to develop the freedom of speech around the world, and to help revive children's rights.

Deghati was born in 1952 in Tabriz, northeast of Iran, and was introduced to photography when he was just 14 years old. His life as a professional photojournalist started in 1978 with his cooperation with Agence France-Press (AFP) and Newsweek magazine. He now works with the National Geography.

He worked several years of his life to picture war in different regions of the world including Afghanistan and was an acquaintance of Ahmad Shah Masoud, the great Afghan militant. After the conclusion of war between Russia and Afghanistan, Deghati accepted the responsibility of distributing the international aids in the war-stricken country. He moreover founded the non-profit cultural foundation of Ażna in Kabol, Afghanistan, aiming at the revival of media, the establishment of free press, and the dissemination of culture there. So far, the institute has educated more than hundreds of Afghans girls and boys in journalism, photography, drawing, and cinematography, sending them out to the professional world.

Reza Deghati's photos of the Caspian Sea region which were May 1999's main feature in National Geographic magazine were the outcome of his spending more than three years on this project -- the largest ever regarding the Caspian Sea -- including six months of actual shooting in the Republics of Azerbaijan, Daghestan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. A few of his photos are from Iran taken some 20 years before the project.

Deghati is also the founder of the website Webistan which can be reached at
Ażna Cultural Foundation:
Reza Deghati at National Geographic:
Reza Deghati at France's Senate site:

... Payvand News - 6/6/05 ... --

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