Farnaz Fassihi

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Farnaz Fassihi
Farnaz Fassihi.jpg
Born1971 (age 49–50) [1]
United States
Alma materColumbia University

Farnaz Fassihi (Persian: فرناز فصیحی‎) is an Iranian-American journalist. She writes about Iran for The New York Times. Previously she was a senior writer for The Wall Street Journal for 17 years and a conflict reporter based in the Middle East.[2] She is a 2018 recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of her "distinguished contribution" to America's society.[citation needed]

Fassihi is the author of a book on the Iraq war, Waiting for An Ordinary Day, a memoir of her four years covering the Iraq War and witnessing the unraveling of social life for Iraqi citizens.


Farnaz Fassihi was born in the United States to Iranian parents and grew up in Tehran and Portland, Oregon. She received an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.[3]

After 14 years covering wars and uprisings across the Middle East for The Wall Street Journal as Baghdad bureau chief and Deputy Middle East and Africa Bureau chief based in Beirut, Fassihi returned to New York and joined the WSJ's national security team as a senior writer based at the United Nations. She wrote about U.S. foreign policy and global diplomacy of some of the biggest stories: the missile crisis with North Korea, Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of Rohingya minority, Venezuela’s political upheaval, Syria’s war, Iran’s nuclear deal, refugee crisis and climate change.[citation needed]


Fassihi is a reporter for The New York Times based in New York. She served as a senior Middle East correspondent based in Beirut, as deputy bureau chief of Middle East and Africa supervising a team of reporters and shaping coverage from elections in Zimbabwe to war in Gaza and the uprisings of the Arab Spring. She covered the Iraq War as The Journal's Baghdad bureau chief from 2003 to 2006. She was dispatched to Afghanistan to cover the US-led invasion and has covered wars, revolutions and uprisings also across the Middle East.[4]

She was one of the lead reporters for The Journal's 2011 award-winning investigative project titled "Censorship Inc.," a series of enterprise stories examining how western technology has enabled censorship in authoritarian countries.[4]

Fassihi is widely known for penning a famous email in 2004 about the deteriorating situation in Iraq, which was hailed as the first unvarnished account of the war. The email went viral on the Internet and was published in newspapers, websites and blogs around the world and became the subject of a Doonesbury cartoon.[citation needed]

Prior to joining The Wall Street Journal, Fassihi worked as an investigative reporter and roving foreign correspondent for The Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey.[3] She covered the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the war in Afghanistan, Second Palestinian intifada and Iraq under Saddam Hussein for the Star-Ledger. She was also a reporter for The Providence Journal in Rhode Island covering local news.[1] She led the paper's award-winning coverage of the crash of EgyptAir flight 990, traveling to Cairo to investigate the story.

She worked as a stringer for Western media organizations in Iran, including The New York Times.[1] She was a 2015 Nieman fellow at Harvard University.[5]


Farnaz Fassihi Twitter

Rare personal video of Gen. Soleimani reciting poetry shared by a source in #Iran. About friends departing & him being left behind

3 Jan 2020[6]

In the early morning hours after the Pentagon confirmed Donald Trump ordered a targeted drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani on 3 January 2020, Fassihi shared a video on Twitter which has been accused by social media users of spreading Iranian propaganda and attempting to garner sympathy for the “shadow commander”. Several journalists slammed Fassihi for spreading fake news after she tweeted "unconfirmed" reports Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which said missiles were being fired at the U.S. Ain Assad Air Base in Iraq.[7]

On 28 November 2020, The New York Times published a news article by Farnaz Fassihi, headlined "Top Iranian Scientist for Nuclear Program Is Killed in an Attack", reported in part, “Protests erupted outside government buildings in Tehran to demand revenge, much as they did after the Jan. 3 attack that killed Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian major general who ran the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”. The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of this story suggested strongly that the “protests” had been organized by the Iranian government, with other non-New York Times news outlets also making clear that activities like what the Times has described as “protest” were actually Iranian-government-sponsored rallies.[8]

At The New York Times since July 2019, she reported on November 2019 uprising in Iran and broke the story of the massacre of people in Mahshar,[9] reconstructed in detail how the Revolutionary Guards Corps shot down a Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane with missiles on a night that U.S. and Iran went to the brink of war and lied about it for three days.[10] Fassihi was one of the reporters on a joint investigative project The Iran Cables between the Times and the Intercept about a trove of intelligence cables revealing how Iran wields influence in Iraq. [11] In October 2020, Fassihi's investigation into Iran's MeToo movement revealed allegations of sexual misconduct against prominent artist Aydin Aghdashloo.[12]

Farnaz Fassihi Twitter

No it isn't. There are no women's only parks.

13 March 2021[13]

In March 2021, Fassihi tweeted a video of women in Iran exercising in a park and mention that "No it isn't. There are no women's only parks." in response to a question about that video.[14] However, women's only parks exist in Iran, and there are at least five women's only parks only in Tehran alone.[15] These parks are Behesht-e-madran, Pardis-e-Banovan, Boostan-e-Narges, Shahrbanoo Complex, Reyhane park. Other cities in Iran have women's only parks as well (e.g., Shiraz,[16] Isfahan [17])

In April 2021, Fassihi was the focus of an online campaign accusing her and the New York Times of biased reporting on behalf of the Iranian government and blocking anti-government activists. [18]


  • Waiting for An Ordinary Day: the Unraveling of life in Iraq—Fassihi's four years covering the Iraq war and its impact on ordinary Iraqis. Reviewed on the front page of The New York Times Art section.[19]
  • Women's Letters, America from the Revolutionary War to the Present—Fassihi's famous email from Iraq is included in this anthology of historical letters written by American women.
  • What Orwell Didn’t Know, Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics—Fassihi contributed an essay about the Iraq War and US administration's propaganda.
  • Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Stories of Food during Wartime by the World's Leading Correspondents—Fassihi contributed a chapter on sharing meals in Iran with students activists.


Her essays on the subject of journalism, conflict reporting and courage have been published by Harvard University's Nieman Reports magazine and Columbia Journalism Review.

She has been a guest speaker at numerous panels and journalism classes and a commentator for television and radio news shows on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, WNYC, PBS, Charlie Rose and National Public Radio.

Overseas Press Club – Serving a two-year elected term on the board of governors and head judge for the OPC's prestigious awards since 2011.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund For Journalists – member of board for four years, responsibilities included reviewing and reading dozens of applications from journalists across the globe for the DAG fellowship at the UN.

UN Correspondent Association – elected member of the work from 2017-2019. The board represents the interests of a diverse international group of resident journalists based at the UN, the board has to work in close collaboration with journalists and various UN bodies.

Iranian American Women Foundation – a member of the New York Chapter of a non-partisan, non-political network of professional Iranian women. Fassihi is active in the organization's mentorship program and mentors a young female Iranian journalist each year.

Microsoft Teams – Selected by Microsoft Teams in 2019 as a leader to be featured in a documentary called Art of the Team. The documentary featured a group of a dozen leaders from different fields, including scientists, Olympic athletes, CEO and designer, with a unique and successful approach to leadership and teamwork. Microsoft Teams uses Fassihi's interview in training sessions for corporations for team building and conflict resolution.[20][21]


  • Career Award for coverage of Middle East 2015
    • The Marie Colvin Front Page Award for Foreign Correspondence[22]
  • For "Hearts, Minds and Blood: the battle for Iran": 2010
    • The Robert F. Kennedy Award for best international reporting in print[23]
    • The Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award—for Best International Reporting in Print
    • Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism from University of Oregon[24]
    • The Taylor Family Award for Fairness and Accuracy in print Journalism from Harvard University
    • Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best International Reporting from The Society of Professional Journalists[25]
    • National Journalism Award for Best Reporting in Print from The Asian American Journalists Association
  • For "Censorship Inc.": 2011 (Team award)
    • Malcolm Forbes Award—The Overseas Press Club's Best International Business Reporting
    • Investigate Award—from Society of American Business Editors and Writers[26]
  • For Iraq coverage: 2006
    • Henry Pringle Lecture Award—Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism for reporting with the most impact in shaping policy in Washington. Fassihi is the youngest person honored with the award.
  • For EgyptAir Flight 990 crash: 2000
    • The New England News Executive Award-First place for General News category
    • Livingston Award for young journalists—Finalist


  1. ^ a b c "Farnaz Fassihi". U.S. Virtual Embassy Iran.
  2. ^ "Farnaz Fassihi". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b "Farnaz Fassihi". The Marketing Society.
  4. ^ a b Invitation to Author Conversation with Tara Kangarlou and Farnaz Fassihi. Women's Foreign Policy Group. April 20, 2021.
  5. ^ "Nieman Foundation announces the 77th class of Nieman Fellows". nieman.harvard.edu. 30 April 2014.
  6. ^ Farnaz Fassihi [@farnazfassihi] (3 Jan 2020). "Rare personal video of Gen. Soleimani reciting poetry shared by a source in #Iran. About friends departing & him being left behind" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ "NY Times reporter's tweet of Soleimani reciting poetry draws backlash". 4 January 2020.
  8. ^ "The New York Times Publicizes Iranian Propaganda 'Protests' Without Disclosing Regime Role". 1 December 2020.
  9. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/01/world/middleeast/iran-protests-deaths.html
  10. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/26/world/middleeast/iran-plane-crash-coverup.html
  11. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/18/world/middleeast/iran-iraq-spy-cables.html
  12. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/01/world/canada/iran-metoo-aghdashloo-reaction.html
  13. ^ Farnaz Fassihi [@farnazfassihi] (13 March 2021). "No it isn't. There are no women's only parks" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "https://twitter.com/farnazfassihi/status/1370808608456380420". Twitter. Retrieved 2021-04-21. External link in |title= (help)
  15. ^ https://sedayiran.com/fa/news/58560/%D8%A2%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%B3-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B1%DA%A9-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86
  16. ^ https://www.irna.ir/news/83070136/3-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%83-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AA%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D9%87%D9%85-%D8%B2%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%81%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%8A-%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%8A
  17. ^ http://banovanirani.ir/%d9%85%d8%b9%d8%b1%d9%81%db%8c-%d9%be%d8%a7%d8%b1%da%a9-%d8%a8%d8%a7%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a7%d9%86-%d8%af%d8%b1-%d8%a7%d8%b5%d9%81%d9%87%d8%a7%d9%86/
  18. ^ https://www.aim.org/aim-column/ny-times-writer-accused-of-iran-bias-in-twitter-uprising/
  19. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (September 1, 2008). "When Fear and Chaos Are Normal, Peace and Safety Become Unimaginable". The New York Times.
  20. ^ https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/art-of-teamwork-guide/constructive-tension/why-it-is-important/2
  21. ^ https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/teamwork-in-the-workplace
  22. ^ "2015 Award Recipients and Photo Gallery". The Newswomen's Club of New York. 12 November 2015.
  23. ^ "Robert F. Kennedy Award" (in Persian). Radio Zamaneh.
  24. ^ Miller, Zanne (11 April 2010). "Announcing the 2010 Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism". jcomm.uoregon.edu. University of Oregon. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Announcing winners of the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for journalism". spj.org. Society of Professional Journalists. 3 May 2010.
  26. ^ "Best in Business 2011 contest-results, 2011 Contest Year". sabew.org. Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)