“The regime in Iran has produced only 40 years of failure,” the meme said. “The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future.” He also tweeted the message in Farsi.
In an Instagram post this week, the journalist who took the photo, Yalda Moayeri, pushed back against Trump’s use of her work, saying that if the photo was used as “a symbol of freedom everywhere in the world,” then it “would be a great honor.”
“But having president Trump use it without my permission in a tweet in Persian even is a great shame for me and causes me deep sorrow,” she wrote and said she took the photo in circumstances that were “very difficult.”
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My name is Yalda Moayeri, I’m 37 years old and I am a photojournalist from Iran. I am also the photographer of this photo. I took this picture a year ago during demonstrations around Tehran University. The circumstances were very difficult. I wasn’t able to reveal my identity for six months because I thought that being known as the photographer I might get me into trouble. But I came out as it’s important to show the situation in Iran in a clear and transparent manner. It would be a great honor for me if this image would be a symbol of freedom everywhere in the world. But having president Trump use it without my permission in a tweet in Persian even is a great shame for me and causes me deep sorrow. Because of his policies I, my family and my friends are forced to live under sanctions that are devastating our lives. Our currency lost 70 percent of its value. We all became poor. Even if I could go to America financially (I cannot) to visit my dad, I wouldn’t be able to go, as he has imposed a travel ban on the Iranians he says he cares so deeply for. This image shows my people and is for my people, and shouldnt be abused by this Mens in Washington. من يلدا معيري عكاس اين عكس هستم. اين عكس را يكسال پيش در روز ٩ دي ماه در جريان اعتراضات مردمي در دانشگاه تهران گرفتم و بخاطر ترس از دستگيري و مشكلات امنيتي كه ممكن بود براي خودم و خانواده ام پيش بيايد ٦ ماه هويت عكاس را مخفي نگاه داشتم.اين عكس در مقياس بسيار وسيعي در مطبوعات و رسانه هاي جهان منتشر شد و تبديل به نمادي از آزادگي و حريت در جهان شد كه طبعا براي من باعث بسي افتخار است.اما به عنوان يك ايراني كه هر روز و هر روز بيشتر از تحريمهاي ايالات متحده آسيب مي بيند، بخاطر تفاوت قيمت ارز و پول ملي قادر به مسافرت به كشورهاي همسايه هم نيست و به دليل قانون منع مسافرت آقاي ترامپ سالهاست از ديدار پدر و مادرش محروم مانده است، ديدن اين عكس در پشت توييت آقاي ترامپ و مصاحبه مطبوعاتي آقاي پمپئو و هر سياستمدار آمريكايي بزرگي ،شرمندگي زيادي به همراه دارد. اين عكس از مردم ايران و براي مردم ايران گرفته شده است و نبايد توسط هيچ كس ديگري مورد سواستفاده قرار بگيرد. #sanctions #Iran#donaldtrump #unitedstates #demonstration #tehranuniversity #freedom #abused
The photojournalist went on to describe how Trump’s policies on Iran have affected her family and friends. “Even if I could go to America financially (I cannot) to visit my dad, I wouldn’t be able to go, as he has imposed a travel ban on the Iranians he says he cares so deeply for,” she wrote.
Moayeri told the New York Times that during the protests at Tehran University when she took the photo, there were violent confrontations between students and police, and she worried she would be arrested. But she continued to work anyway, initially hiding her identity as the journalist behind the photos for fear of repercussions.
Thousands of people were detained and more than 20 killed during the unusual mass protests across Iran in late 2017 and early 2018.
“I did not take this risk to have someone using it to pressure us Iranians even further,” she told the Times after Trump tweeted the image.
When asked for comment on Trump’s use of the photo, White House National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis wrote in an email to The Washington Post, “The Iranian regime’s mismanagement and corruption have led to a collapsing economy and its export of terrorism has made it an international pariah,” and “it’s up to the Iranian regime to change its behavior, and ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country.” He would not, however, specifically speak to the use of Moayeri’s photo.
The Post could not immediately contact Moayeri for comment. But in her Instagram post, she made clear that “the image shows my people and is for my people,” and that she doesn’t believe it should be “abused” by anyone in Washington.