Iason Athanasiadis is a photojournalist, documentary film-maker and international lecturer working on the intersection of the Eastern Mediterranean with the Arab, Persian and Turkic Middle East and Central Asia. He has covered some of the contemporary region’s signature crises, including the 2011 Arab revolts, the 2010 Afghan surge, the Greek economic crisis, the 2009 Iranian pro-democracy movement, the 2006 Lebanese war, the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the passing of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in 2000. Iason has lived in Cairo, Damascus, Sanaa and Tehran. He is currently based between Istanbul and Kabul.
Descended from a family of Ottoman Greeks from Cappadocia, Iason grew up in Greece and studied Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University. He attended the School of International Relations in Tehran where he studied for a Masters in Persian and Contemporary Iranian Studies and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard.
His articles and op-eds have been published in the International Herald Tribune, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Sunday Telegraph, the Spectator and others. He has reported from Afghanistan, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Yemen. Iason speaks English, Arabic, Greek and Persian.
Iason was arrested during Iran’s post-election unrest in 2009 and incarcerated for three weeks in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Following vigorous diplomacy by the Greek government, he was released without official charge. He contributes a weekly column to al-Majalla, a current affairs and literary magazine.
Besides Arabic, English and Greek, Iason also speaks Persian and Turkish.