A cultural heritage at risk

The threat of Iran's cultural sites on the UNESCO world list

The conference entitled â € œA Cultural Heritage at Riskâ € in collaboration between the International Association of Mediterranean Studies (ISMEO) and the Cultural Institute of Iran took place on Friday 31 January in the prestigious Borromini room of the Library Vallicelliana in Rome with the presence of ISMEO scholars and Iranians, Ambassador of Iran to the Quirinale and Ambassador of Iran to the Holy See.

Italian scholars take sides in defense of the immense cultural heritage that Donald Trump seems to consider a legitimate military target.

The Islamic Republic is in ninth place in the world (the third for Asia) as the number of sites included in the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site. There are 24 sites, two "natural" and 22 cultural, and about sixty are on a sort of "waiting list". And Italy, with various missions, is Iran's greatest partner in the protection and enhancement, because "the diplomacy of culture is the basis of friendship between the two countries", underlines the Iranian ambassador Hamid Bayat.

Ambassador of Iran in his speech stresses that these monuments are named after a country that hosts them, but are in fact of the whole of humanity ".

Prof. Adriano Rossi, President of the International Association of Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMEO) in his speech declares that he does not consider Trump's warnings only a provocation: “We all believe it impossible that such threats are implemented. But let's not forget that we work in Iraq, where the archaeological heritage has been devastated by bombs ". In other words, the destruction promised by the American president would be no different from the devastation wrought by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and even earlier by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In defense of these riches, says Rossi, "Iranian friends know that we are by their side".

Prof. Pierfrancesco Callieri, previous President of the Association of European Iranians and professor at the University of Bologna and co-director of the joint mission between Iran and Italy in Iran, focuses on 22 monumental sites, eight also bear the signature of Italy, not to mention Persepolis, where the Italians have recovered the monumental gate of Tol-e Ajori, inspired by the Ishtar gate of Babylon.

Prof. Callieri adds that the reprisals hypothesized by Trump are so absurd that "they are not even included among the possible threats listed in the 1972 UNESCO Convention for the protection of world heritage".

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