The below press release has been published by the Pasargad Hertage Foundation which traditionally
chooses and announces a new name and dedication at the beginning of every Iranian New Year.
The Pasargad Foundation is the first international NGO which was established in 2006 and focuses on
preservation of Iranian Cultural Heritage.
“The Year of Action against Discrimination in Cultural Heritage”
Translation by Lilly Mozafari (WCHV)
At the end of every year, the Pasargad Heritage Foundation looks back, reflecting on the past events and then looks towards the New Year with hope and promise, traditionally choosing a name for the new year.
To stay true to this tradition, at this time of the dawn of the Iranian New Year, the Foundation has chosen a name for this coming New Year.
As always, this choice has been made in the spirit of stewardship and preservation of Iranian cultural and historical heritage; the choice was also made in the light of the current events placing this national and international heritage in danger.
The recent events demonstrate that the historical and cultural treasures of Iran are subject to religious and political discrimination. Therefore, in order to attract the attention of all those who love culture and are interested in protecting historical and cultural heritage of Iran and the rest of the world, would like to stop these illegal practices, we named the year 1392 “The Year of Action against Discrimination in Cultural Heritage”.
The recent news broadcasted in Iranian media, which is largely controlled by the government, indicate that the Department of Cultural Heritage and Tourism of the Islamic Republic gives most of its attention and resources to preserving only one segment of historical heritage, while ignoring and neglecting the others that are in a dire need of restoration or in danger of complete destruction. This is happening despite the fact that the Department is responsible for preservation and protection of all historical and cultural heritage of the country.
For example, last year while a considerable amount of the Department’s funds was allocated to the restoration of numerous historical and semi-historical mosques and shrines all over the country, hundreds of national cultural and historical treasures, as well as those belonging to religions other than Islam, that are currently turning into ruins, have been ignored and left unattended. The Department attributes this systematic neglect of the national treasures to the lack of funds. On the other hand, the Department along with the Department of Records, continuously pressures the business communities in various cities to contribute funds to the Islamic sites, and by destroying national historic sites opens up more room for the newly constructed religious sites.
It is important to note that the laws related to preservation of natural, historical and cultural heritage presented in the United Nations and UNESCO conventions that are accepted by most nations including Iran, emphasize this point: “All historical and ancient structures, all historical artifacts of architecture, sculptures, paintings and scripts and all work that has unique historical, artistic and scientific value, whether national or international, must be preserved and protected by all consenting governments. Nowhere in these conventions has it been stated that certain treasures should be considered more important that others due to religious, political or any other arbitrary reason.
The international laws aside, it is unfortunate that such discriminating behavior toward cultural heritage is happening in the land of the people who since thousands of years ago not only have been respectful of various cultures and religions, but also helped in their preservation, as is evidenced by such historical documents as Cyrus Cylinder.
The Pasargad Heritage Foundation, at this time of the dawn of the greatest and most significant celebration event of Iranian people, while extending the New Year greetings to all, respectfully asks of all those who love and support culture and arts to spread the word and inform as many people as possible of the need to “preserve, without discrimination” all cultural and historical treasures. The Foundation also asks that when discrimination in preservation of cultural heritage is witnessed or observed that it be reported directly to the appropriate international organizations.
The Pasargad Heritage Foundation has been reporting continuously to the United Nations, UNESCO and other similar organization of all political or religious motivated discrimination in preserving cultural heritage.
With kind regards,
On behalf of the Pasargad Heritage Foundation