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Not expendable
Pasargad "safe and sound"? You must be joking!



Shokooh Mirzadegi & Esmail Nooriala
September 5, 2005

We would like to write a few words about a letter that has been posted on [Safe & sound] about the saga of Sivand Dam and the immanent submersion of Iran’s historical sites once the dam becomes operational in the coming spring. We already have translated these gentlemen’s letter -- along with our response in Persian -- on the web-page we have set up for this matter. Apart from the fact that this letter talks generally about the Pasargad case, it directly aims to refute our petition that was posted 5 days ago and so far (Monday afternoon) has attracted more than 4000 signatures, beginning with that of’s editor.

It seems very strange to us that these gentlemen have decided to emphatically shoulder the flag of defending IRI’s irresponsible action of building this dam without any prior planning for offsetting the dangers posed by it to our historical heritage. They are employing old tricks - such as referring to fake archeological stories - to degrade the present debate, calling it a politically motivated and sensationalist action. We actually wonder if their own position and stand in this letter is void of such labels. In fact, by bluntly refuting the possibility of any future damage to Pasargad site by the lake that will eventually take shape behind the Sivand Dam, they are now partners in crime with the Islamic republic, in whatever that happens in the future.

We have purposefully posted all available information about the Sivand case on our Pasargad site, including the very reports these gentlemen are referring to, only to show the extent of discrepancies amongst the articles posted by Iran’s Cultural Heritage News Agency.

We would like to invite everyone who has read these gentlemens' letter to visit the CHN site and read the numerous articles posted there by the Iranian experts and specialists listing the archeological sites that will be lost forever once the dam becomes operational submerging first the Bolaghi site and then penetrating towards Pasargad.

We would also like to quote only one short paragraph from an article written by John Vidal in the celebrated British newspaper, The Guardian, as early as December 23, 2004: “More than 100 of Iran's potentially most important but least examined archaeological sites, including fringes of Pasargadae, the city built by King Cyrus the Great, will be flooded in the next two years according to the UN, which appealed yesterday to international scientists to try to record what they can.”

In the very days that our petition is gaining support from four corners of the globe, including numerous archeologists, (see the support of School of Oriental and African Studies in London, as an example) these gentlemen are writing to different e-magazines to off-set, through their creation of baseless doubts, the tremendous response and welcome that is pouring in.

This is not a light matter that could be forgotten upon the assurances that these two seemingly naïve gentlemen are giving us, acting as “archeologists”. What we need is the opening up of the Sivand Dam’s governmental files to see what has been going on during the past decade. I fact, archeologists are not the proper people to give opinion on these matters. We need the expert opinions of all hydro-engineering experts, geologists, and preservationist who have worked on other cases of erecting dams inside archeological sites.

We should not forget that the idea of building the Aswan Dam in Egypt of late 50s brought such an international fuss that the government of Nasser was forced to seek International help to save the Abu Simbel temple which was going to be submerged beneath the waters of River Nile. You can read more about such threats at the site of University of Colorado. We have also put links to this site and other documents about Aswan dam on our Pasargad site too.

The writers of this shallow letter pose a question too: “Instead of having a multitude of committees run by amateurs with little or no grasp of intricacies of Iranian history, why don't we have committees to fund legitimate archaeological and historical research in Iran by professional archaeologists and historians in order to enhance our knowledge of our beloved country?”

We think that it is the right of all “amateurs with little or no grasp of intricacies of Iranian history” to ignore such arrogant talks and emphatically ask for reliable proofs from reliable sources. The tomb of Cyrus the Great is not an expendable commodity. It is a unique historical site belonging to all human-rights-loving nations of the world. At the same time, we would like to assure these arrogant writers that “The International Committee for Saving the Archeological sites of Pasargad” has no intention of raising money. We are dealing with the minds and conscience of our people and no money can buy into their soul.

Having vast financial resources and budget surpluses of all kind, Iran does not need any money to pay archeologists like these two gentlemen to dig into the “intricacies” of its history. Iran even does not need international monetary aid to preserve its historical sites. It only needs women and men of dedicated conscious who would do anything to preserve the historical post marks of their identity. Iran has all the money needed for such endeavor. What is lacking is good intention and knowledgeable intent.

We invite everybody who has read the letter written by these two gentlemen to visit our Pasargad site and read the rest of this story, told by so many different experts, for themselves. You owe this to yourself, your childreen and your country.

For letters section
To Shokooh Mirzadegi
To Esmail Nooriala

Shokooh Mirzadegi

Esmail Nooriala

pasargad not in danger?
* Radio Farda: Pasargad foundation head says monument not in danger but has other worries
* Deutsche Welle: Rights group will sue to prevent destruction of historical sites
* BBC Persian: Will Pasargad go under water?
* Petition: More than 3,000 signatures so far
* Open Letter: Mirzadegi & Nooriala



Book of the day

Three volume box set of the Persian Book of Kings
Translated by Dick Davis

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