Mahdi Akhavan Sales – Life Story

Mahdi Akhavan Sales is an Iranian journalist, writer, and political commentator. He was born in the city of Shiraz in 1965 and graduated from high school in 1983. After a brief stint in the Iranian military, he moved to Tehran to study law and political science at the University of Tehran.

In 1995, he began working as a journalist, writing for various independent newspapers such as Etemad, Tous, and Gol Agha. He covered a wide range of topics, including politics, culture, and human rights. During this time, he also wrote several books, including Voices of Silence: Iranian Women and Politics and Iran’s Mirage: The Illusion of Democracy.

In 2009, he was arrested and held in solitary confinement in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. He was released in 2011 but placed under a travel ban, preventing him from leaving the country. He continued to write and report on the human rights situation in Iran, and in 2012, he won the Courage in Journalism Award fromavan Sales is still writing, now from abroad, but his work still addresses the same important issues he covered back in Iran. He is an important voice in the struggle for freedom and human rights in Iran, and his work continues to be an inspiration to journalists around the world.

Mahdi Akhavan-Sales is an Iranian journalist, poet, and political activist. Born in 1937 in Rasht, Iran, he began his career as a journalist in 1956. He was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Soroush, founded by the Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, before becoming a poet himself.

Throughout his career, Akhavan-Sales has written extensively on human rights, social justice and democracy in Iran, and has been an outspoken critic of the Iranian government. He founded the Association of Iranian Journalists in 1977, and was jailed multiple times between 1978 and 1993 for his political activities. In 1994, he was awarded the Reporters Without Borders Prize for Freedom of Expression.

In 2003, Akhavan-Sales was arrested and detained for several months for participating in a pro-reform demonstration. His activism for reform continued and in 2005, he was banned from publishing any articles in Iran and exiled to France. Despite this, he continued to write and speak out against the Iranian government from abroad.

In 2008, Akhavan-Sales was awarded the Goethe Medal for his lifetime achievements in promoting freedom of expression and political rights for Iranians. His work has been translated into several languages and has been published in numerous magazines and journals. His books include “The Garden of Moths: Selected Poems 1958-2005”, “The Poetry of Heaven and Earth”, and “The Chosen Land: A Collection of Essays on Iranian Affairs”.


  • Organ (Arghanoon ارغنون, 1951)
  • Winter (Zemestān زمستان, 1956)
  • The Ending of Shahnameh (Ākhare Shāhnāmeh, آخر شاهنامه, 1959)
  • From This Avesta (Az In Avestā, 1965, از اين اوستا)
  • The Hunting Poems (Manzoomeye Shekār, 1966)
  • Autumn in Prison (Pāeez dar Zendān, 1969)
  • Love Lyrics and Azure (Aasheghānehā va Kabood, عاشقانه ها و کبود, 1969)
  • Best Hope (Behtarin Omid, 1969)
  • Selected Poems (Ghozideh-ye Ash-ār, 1970)
  • In the Autumn’s Small Yard in Prison (Dar Hayāte Koochak Pāeez dar Zendān, در حياط کوچک پاييز در زندان, 1976)
  • Hell, but Cold (Duzakh Amma Sard, 1978)
  • Life Says: Still We Must Live (Zendegi Migooyad Amma Bāz Bayad Zist, زندگي مي گويد: اما بايد زيست, 1978)
  • O You Ancient Land, I Love Thee (Torā Ay Kohan Boom o Bar Doost Dāram, تو را اي کهن بوم و بر دوست دارم, 1989)

Other Books

  • I Saw Susa (Shush-rā Didam, 1972)
  • They Say That Ferdowsi (Guyand Ki Ferdowsi, 1976)
  • An Ancient Tree and the Forest (Derakhti pir va jangal, درخت پير و جنگل, 1977)
  • And Now a New Spring (Inak Bahar-i Digar, 1978)
  • Fight on, O Hero (Bejang, Ey Pahlavān, 1978)
  • Nima Yushij’s Innovations and Aesthetics (Bed’athā va Badāye’i Nimā Yushij, بدعت ها و بدايع نيما يوشيج, 1979)
  • Nima Yushij’s Bequest (Atā va Laqā-i Nimā Yushij, عطا و لقاي نيما يوشيج, 1983)

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