Committee with a cause

Iranian Cultural and Natural Heritage Year


Committee with a cause
by Amil Imani

According to the World Encyclopedia, cultural genocide is a term used to describe the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political or military reasons. Since coming to power twenty-nine years ago, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been in a constant battle with the Iranian people as well as her culture and heritage.

Over its life span, the Islamic Republic zealots have tried innumerable times to cleanse the pre-Islamic Persian heritage in the name of Islam. First, they declared war against the Persian New Year or “Nowruz”, and then, they attacked other Persian traditions and customs. In 1979, Khomeini's right-hand man, the Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, tried to bulldoze Iran’s greatest epical poet Ferdowsi's tomb and Persepolis palace. Fortunately, the total bulldozing of the relics of the palace was averted by Iranian patriots who wished to preserve their heritage; who literally stood in front of the bulldozers and did not allow the destruction of this heritage of humanity.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, which holds in great contempt any non-Islamic belief or heritage, has embarked on destroying many pre-Islamic archeological sites in Iran such as Pasargad and Persepolis -- some of humanity's most prized cultural heritage, on the pretext of building a dam. The heinous destruction of the two Buddha statues by Afghanistan's Taliban pales in comparison to the present barbaric designs of the Islamic Republic.

Pasargad and Persepolis are more than a mere collection of ancient structures. They are embodiments of humanity's historical respect for liberty and tolerance of diversity. For 2,500 years, the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great has stood on the plain at Pasargad, a simple but dignified monument to a revered king. Many fear the newly built dam and reservoir, so close to Pasargad, will pose a great threat to the tomb of Cyrus the Great, despite numerous reports that are coming from the Islamic Republic News Agencies stating otherwise.

These archaeological sites are nonrenewable resources and each contains unique information about the human past. The loss of these precious and irreplaceable archaeological sites would forever seal our understanding of the world's cultural heritage that can never be recovered. We look at archaeology as a necessary and important endeavor that can reveal information essential to self-knowledge and also provide lessons for our future successes in managing ourselves and our uses of the planet we inhabit.

The worldwide people of our planet are fascinated by archaeology and the secrets of our past. It creates wonder, enigma, delight, and surprise. There is a natural human curiosity and captivation about the past within most of us. We want to know more about it, to understand it, and perhaps to try to experience it. Archaeology is one way to do these things. They are our treasures left behind by the dwellers of the past. The Iranian culture and archaeology are so rich almost no place that one could say is devoid of interest. And certainly a list must be compiled of the sites which merit the most consideration.

For the above reasons, The International Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad has proposed that the year 2547 of the Persian calendar (or March 20th 2008 AD), be named the year of Iranian Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The International Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad has invited every concerned citizen to join forces with them in an innovative, grassroots, public-private partnership to offer research and interest in Persian cultural heritage. It is their goal and intention that people everywhere learn about the human origins and achievements. They hope that this would also increase awareness among the general public with respect to the cultural liabilities incurred by improper treatment of the archaeological heritage and degradation of archaeological resources through the looting of sites, theft of artifacts, and illicit international trade in antiquities. We were reminded by the events during the Persian Gulf War in 2003 which generated increased awareness of the vulnerability of Middle Eastern archaeological resources.

Alexander H. Joffe, from the review of Managing Archaeology and Archaeological Remains, in Situ Preservation, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 1999 Vol. 58, No. 2, p.137 has noted:

“The question is not if the battle to preserve archaeological sites and landscapes will be lost but how fast and how badly. When the last dam is flooded, the last minefield laid, and the last factory/strip-mall/apartment block finished, and when the few remaining big-name archaeological sites are fenced in and prettied up as “parks,” will more than a few people notice or care? Probably not! And that is a sad commentary on society at large and on us.”

The upcoming observance of The Iranian Cultural and Natural Heritage Year in the spring of 2008 is not just an Iranian event; it is humanity's most precious heritage event -- your and your descendents' heritage. It is an event of great value which is in dire need of your support. Generations of humanity will bemoan the loss of this living testimony to the nobility of mankind. The destructive hand of any kind of zealots must be stayed. Stand up, raise your voice and do what is in your power to preserve what is rightfully yours.


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Iranians Protest Sivand Dam Project

by Babak56 (not verified) on



by Babk56 (not verified) on

De-Iranianization is the process of removing the Persian identity of Iran. It started in earnest after the Islamic conquest of Persia. It got a re-invigorating jolt with the re-introduction of Islamic laws in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution.

According to one journalist who spent several years in Iran, "The Islamic system of government has deliberately erased much of what was Persian culture and it is only by looking hard that you can catch glimpses of the past."[1]



From CHN (Cultural Heritage

by Anonymousk (not verified) on

From CHN (Cultural Heritage News Agency)

Tehran, 17 April 2007 (CHN Foreign Desk) -- Concurrent with the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s President, to Fars province, the initial phase for inundation of Sivand Dam in Bolaghi Gorge has started. According to a cultural heritage expert in Pasargadae, closing the discharge tunnel of Sivand Dam for flooding the dam has been started. This way in a near future, the reservoir of Sivand Dam will be filled with water and would submerge more than 130 pre-historic and historic sites identified so far in Bolaghi Gorge.

The areas no. 131, 73, 76, and 64 will be the first historical sites in Bolaghi Gorge which would be drowned with inundation of Sivand Dam. Prior to this, archeologists had announced that the salvation project of Bolaghi Gorge has come to an end.


Sivan Dam Built on remains of Achamnid dam

Continuation of archeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge, Iranian Fars province, led into discovery of a stone dam dating back to Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BC). This new discovery brought into light that the sensational dam of Sivand, constructed in Bolaghi Gorge, is built on the remains of this Achaemenid dam. Due to the method practiced for scraping the stones, this dam is called “Sang bor sabzali” literary meaning: ‘Sabzali scraped stone’ by the locals.

“Archeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge revealed that Sivand Dam has been constructed on the remains of an Achaemenid dam. Existence of an ancient stone dam in the area, which is completely demolished, has also been approved by technical authorities of the dam,” said Mohsen Zeidi, Iranian head of Iran-Japan archeology team in Bolaghi Gorge to CHN.

According to Zeidi, archeologists have also succeeded in discovery of the remains of an Achaemenid soil dam near Rahmatabad hill in Bolaghi Gorge which was most probably constructed prior to this stone dam in an attempt to provide water for the locals and their agricultural lands.

Evidence shows that all requirements were considered for constructing such a dam during the ancient times and the location of the dam was chosen very carefully and systematically. Some irrigation canals were also constructed in order to direct part of the water of the rivers toward the reservoir of the dam.

Zeidi believes that archeological evidence in Bolaghi Gorge indicates that the height of the dam must not have been tall and therefore low level water was stored in the reservoir behind the dam.

Discovery of a number of 2500-year-old dams in Bolaghi Gorge shed light on the high attention was paid to agricultural activities and the value of water management during Achaemenid dynastic era, evidence of which can be also seen in most inscriptions remained from this period of Persian history.

Iranian and Japanese archeology team are determined to pinpoint the exact place of this Achaemenid Dam from the aerial pictures and satellite maps prepared before construction of Sivand Dam in the area.

Bolaghi Gorge is a historic site located 4 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae. Construction of Sivand Dam in this region, the inundation of which will submerge a large number of historical evidence situated in the area caused a lot of concern among cultural heritage enthusiasts both inside and outside Iran. Since 2 years ago a lot of effort has been made by Iranian and foreign archeologists to save the remaining historic evidence in the region before flooding of the dam which has resulted in identifying more than 130 historical sites in the area.



What a load of crap

by American-Iranian (not verified) on

Amil Imani's contention that the current gov't of Iran is deliberately trying to destroy Iran's pre-Islamic cultural heritage is a load of bullshit that towers 10 stories high. Quite the opposite is true. The gov't is spending millions of dollars in renovating and refurbishing practically every single historical monument of note throughout the country. I regularly read the Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency ( which is affiliated with the gov't body in charge of safeguarding Iran's cultural treasures and find tons of information on new discoveries from archaeological sites being excavated, plans for renovation of old city textures, buildings, monuments, etc., and new theories or hypotheses by scholars regarding various aspects of Iranian history.

The gov't of Iran is trying its damnedest - such as seeking repatriation of stolen treasures of Jiroft, Persepolis, and other sites from foreign auctions - to protect the country's legacies of art everywhere within and outside the nation's borders. The gov't really wants to boost income derived from the tourism sector and is doing all it can to protect and promote Iran's historical/cultural heritage sector as best as possible.

Mr. Imani greatly dislikes the gov't of Iran, which is totally fine by me, since his opinions are his and his only, but he really steps outside proper boundaries of civility by lying about the gov't trying to destroy its pre-Islamic past. That's simply not true at all. The Sivand dam project has been proven to NOT threaten Pasargad or Cyrus' tomb, it is meant to increase the amount of land under cultivation by providing water to surrounding districts, and the gov't postponed inundation until various excavations around the area were completed.


Let's be real, we Iranians

by Anonymousk (not verified) on

Let's be real, we Iranians can not freely be Iranian in our own country.

Most excellent point. thanks.

Dear Amil: Keep on writing about this and Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran. As long as, we don't confront and expose the deeply rooted toxic fundamentalism and the fundamentalist taking Iran as a hostage, nothing will change in Iran.



by Iran and Iranian (not verified) on

Amil, I agree with you. Genocide of Iranians and Iranian culture is a serious on-going issue and must be brought up to attention of UN and international courts.

Let's be real, we Iranians can not freely be Iranian in our own country.