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Farnaz Fassihi (Persian: فرناز فصیحی, born 1971) is an award winning Iranian-American journalist. She is a senior staff writer for The Wall Street Journal covering the Middle East. . Fassihi is also the author of 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. Fassihi won six national journalism awards for her coverage of the Iranian presidential elections in 2009.
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. Fassihi is the great great granddaughter of Princess Taj al-Saltanah Qajar, the notable daughter of Iran's ruler Naser el-Din Shah Qajar. Taj al-Saltaneh is a prominent historical figure and a pioneer of women's rights in Iran. She was a founding member of The Society of Women's Freedom, leading a march to parliament for equal rights and Iran's first female memoirist. The original hand-written copy of her memoir, translated into English under the title of "Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity 1884-1914", Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh is held in Iran's national archives.
Fassihi is currently based in Beirut, Lebanon for the Wall Street Journal covering Iran and the region. She served as the Journal's Baghdad bureau chief from 2003-2006. In the past decade, she has covered four wars and several uprisings. In 2009 she spent two months in Iran covering the presidential elections and the unrest that followed. She was one of the lead reporters for the Journal's 2011 investigative project titled "Censorship Inc," a series of enterprise stories examining how western technology has enabled censorship in authoritarian countries.
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.
Prior to joining the Wall Street Journal, Fassihi worked as an investigative reporter and roving foreign correspondent for The Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ. She covered the Sept.11 attacks on the Word 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. 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 The New York Times in Iran and New York City.
"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.
"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.
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 and National Public Radio.