A Sept. 22 assault on a military parade in Iran was the country’s deadliest terror attack in nearly a decade. AP's entire team of journalists in Tehran drew on its vast expertise to convey key details and the broader context of the shootings that killed at least 25 people and wounded 60 others.
Staffers swung into action soon after gunmen disguised as soldiers suddenly opened fire on the annual military celebration in Ahvaz, in southwestern Iran. The attack sent parade viewers fleeing in panic, the scenes of chaos and fear broadcast live across the country.
For their dominating work in covering the breaking news, the Tehran-based team of Nasser Karimi, Ami Vahdat, Vahid Salemi, Ebrahim Noroozi, Mehdi Fattahi, Mohammad Nasiri, Mohsen Ganji, Saeed Sarmadi share the Best of the Week award.
Their quick efforts encapsulated several AP bests rolled into one, delivering the definitive accounts of the attack, the fallout and implications for Iran globally through photos, video and text.
Dominance across formats included:
– Producer Mohammad Nasiri quickly securing and sending video of the aftermath of the parade eight hours ahead of AP's key competitors, starting a weekend of unmatched coverage that racked up 4,400 Teletrax video hits.
– On his day off, producer Mehdi Fattahi obtaining user-generated content showing people running away from the attack.
– Photographer Vahid Salemi using years of contacts to quickly get key images, including one of a 4-year-old boy who later died being carried away by a soldier in full dress uniform.
– Correspondent Nasser Karimi calling in APNewsAlerts and writing the definitive account of the attack, working with acting Gulf news director Jon Gambrell and noting how a group of Arab separatists who once only attacked unguarded pipelines had rapidly escalated their campaign, prompting questions about whether they received outside help.
– Securing rare government permission to send photographer Ebrahim Noroozi and cameraman Mohsen Ganji to Ahvaz for funerals. While there, Noroozi took a defining image, below, of the father of the dead 4-year-old boy, cradling his son’s coffin while weeping before a crowd of thousands.
Writer Amir Vahdat also played a key role assessing an Islamic State group claim of responsibility, otherwise dismissed by Iranian officials, while Gambrell wrote an an analysis of how Iran sees looming threats from abroad and Saeed Sarmadi shot exclusive street reactions.
The coverage weaved raw, emotional details with context of a country still reeling from the United States withdrawing from the nuclear deal. AP’s print stories were used by more than 1,000 outlets, according to Newswhip, while Chartbeat shows it was among the most popular stories on apnews.com during the key three-day period, with high social and mobile engagement.
For extraordinary efforts obtaining video, photos and other details exclusively for AP ahead of our competitors, Karimi, Vahdat, Salemi, Noroozi, Fattahi, Nasiri, Ganji and Sarmadi share this week's Best of the Week prize.