A photographer who took a snap US President Donald Trump has used to call for regime change in Iran told RT that she did not want it to become a tool in the hands of the US government, stifling basic freedoms with sanctions.
Yalda Moayeri, a 37-year-old Iranian photojournalist, has lashed out at Trump for appropriating her work to boost his administration’s hardline stance on Iran. Speaking to RT, the acclaimed photographer said that Trump’s policies have brought much sorrow to the people of Iran and to her personally, effectively separating her from the part of her family living in the US.
“My family is in the US and we haven’t seen each other for four years because of the travel ban, and it felt like my family was in a prison because we could not visit each other in another country.”
The travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, has not only affected those living in these countries, but also their relatives in the US, who are afraid of leaving out of fear they would be turned away when they tried to return.
The sanctions, reintroduced by Trump after he tore up the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, have disrupted the everyday life of numerous Iranians, she said.
“There are always people who cannot travel to Iran for different occasions, like wedding parties or funerals, and are forced to use FaceTime in order to be in touch with their families.”
Reeling from the impact of sweeping travel and financial restrictions are ordinary Iranians that have no relation to politics, Moayeri noted, saying that the “social impact of the sanctions” has caused her to “show a symbolical protest” against the way her photo was used by Trump.
She said she does not plan to file any legal complaints over her work being used without a proper credit, explaining that her “protest against this tweet can be defined as social.”
The Tehran-based photographer said that it was not the first time top US officials had used her images to promote the American agenda in Iran. She said her photo was also used by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last July, when he called on the members of the Iranian diaspora in the US to back economic protests in Iran.
Moayeri took the now iconic photo in December 2017 as Iran was rocked by nationwide protests driven by economic hardship and corruption. That particular photo, depicting a veiled woman who is clenching her fist in the air, was taken as protests erupted at the University of Tehran.
She did not claim credit for the photo until May 2018, when it won an award in Tehran. In a lengthy Instagram post, Moayeri explained that she was reluctant to reveal her identity earlier because she thought the photo could get her in trouble.
While she said that she would take pride in the fact that her image would become “a symbol of freedom everywhere in the world,” she did not want it to serve as an instrument of US foreign policy.
“This image shows my people and is for my people, and shouldn’t be abused by this Mens (sic) in Washington,” she wrote, adding that “having president Trump use it without my permission” was “a great shame for me.”
Trump posted the photo on Monday to mark “40 years of failure” of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, an anniversary that saw thousands of Iranians swarming to the streets in celebration of the historic ouster of the pro-US Shah Reza Pahlavi by revolutionaries led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The tweet did not sit well many netizens, who slammed Trump for betraying his own “America first” motto by meddling in the internal affairs of Iran, which has become the primary focus of the Trump administration’s attacks
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