War photojournalist Maryam Kazemzadeh, widow of guerilla Asghar Vesali, dies at 66  

May 25, 2022 - 19:23

TEHRAN – War photojournalist Maryam Kazemzadeh, best known for a photo collection depicting Iran’s war against separatists in the Kordestan region in 1980, passed away on Tuesday from cancer at the age of 66.

She was the widow of Asghar Vesali, the leader of Dastmal Sorkhha, an Iranian guerilla group that joined Mostafa Chamran, the chief of the Iranian volunteers fighting a war against the separatists in the Kordestan region in the early 1980s.

Kazemzadeh was one of the few freelance Iranian women photojournalists, who recorded scenes of battles against Iraqi invaders in the early days of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
Most parts of her career in war photography included the days she accompanied Chamran in his guerilla war in the Kordestan region, where she met Vesali.

He was the leader of Dastmal Sorkhha, a guerilla group having a narrow piece of red cloth around their necks. The pieces of cloth were from a shirt one of their comrade wore in an operation. The comrade was killed and they tore up his shirt into pieces and tied them around their neck, swore not to remove the piece of the cloth until they would get his revenge.

War for the motherland joined Kazemzadeh to Vesali and they began their married life in the warzone in Mahabad. Following the defeat of the separatists in Kordestan, the couple left the region for the frontline in the Sar-e Pol-e Zahab region. A few days later, Vesali was killed in a battle in the Hajian Strait in Gilan-e Gharb.

Part of Kazemzadeh’s collection was published in “War Photographers”, a book published by the Revayate Fath Cultural Foundation.

The Iranian Artists Forum also showcased a number of her photos in a solo exhibition in 2015.

Kazemzadeh was buried on Wednesday after a special funeral in Tehran’s Behesht Zahra Cemetery.    

Photo: An undated photo shows war photojournalist Maryam Kazemzadeh and her husband Asghar Vesali in the warzone.


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