The veteran Iranian journalist, TV producer, show host, and documentary filmmaker, Nader Talebzadeh, passed away Friday evening at a hospital in Tehran due to cardiac arrest. He was 69.
Talebzadeh had been hospitalized in late November for cardiac malfunction and blood clotting. In early January, he was shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital.
His condition saw improvement earlier this month and was set to be discharged, but last week his health parameters fell again and he was subsequently moved back to the ICU.
On Friday night, he breathed his last, leaving his family, friends, and legions of admirers in mourning.
Talebzadeh was born in Tehran in 1952 and rose through the ranks to earn tremendous fame as a broadcast journalist, documentary filmmaker, TV producer, and presenter.
Known for his inimitable cinematic acumen, the sexagenarian directed numerous award-winning documentaries and movies and produced his first feature-length movie titled “The Messiah” in 2007.
The movie depicted the life and teachings of Prophet Jesus from an Islamic perspective, drawing not only from the Holy Bible but also from the Holy Quran.
As an independent documentary filmmaker, Talebzadeh brought his own experiences of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s into his work, giving a sneak peek into the brutalities of the former Iraqi military and the ravages of war, which were part of the legacy of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein.
Talebzadeh also served as the chairman of the International New Horizon Conference, an annual event that shines a light on the hegemonic policies and war crimes of the US and the Israeli regime.
He and his wife Zeinab Mehanna were blacklisted and sanctioned by Washington in February 2019 for organizing the conference.
The eminent filmmaker and television personality also produced and hosted a talk show called “The Secret” for Iran’s English-language news network, Press TV.
In an interview with Press TV, Anthony James Hall, a professor at Lethbridge University and a participant in the International New Horizon Conference, described Talebzadeh’s death as a “major loss to Iran and the world,” saying he was a “great thinker, philosopher, and a very creative individual.”
Recounting his memory of participation in one of the New Horizon conferences in Tehran, Hall said the conference ”transformed” his understanding of the world.
“It was an amazing experience to be in Tehran... I have to say that meeting so many dissident voices from throughout North America and Europe as well as local people in Iran was a tremendous experience in broadening my understanding of the world,” she said.
Iranian president condoles Talebzadeh’s death
Talebzadeh’s death has been widely condoled in Iran and across the region, where he was known as the face of resistance media and a champion of the Palestinian cause.
Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi, in a message on Saturday, also offered his condolences on the demise of the “revolutionary and cultured” filmmaker.
“The death of the revolutionary and cultured artist, the influential figure of the cultural front of the Islamic Revolution, the late Nader Talebzadeh, hurt the hearts of the people of culture and art,” he said in the message.
“I offer my condolences on the death of this artist and cultural activist of the Revolutionary Front to his esteemed family, the artistic community, and his students.”
As a fitting tribute to his years of advocacy for the cause of Palestine, Talebzadeh passed away on International Quds Day, an annual event to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.