Special guards are to be trained by the end of the
current year (March 20) to protect and safeguard
historical-cultural heritage of the country, an
official at Iran Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO)
announced here Monday.
Rahmatollah Raqouf told IRNA
that there is no contradiction between activities
of the guards and those of the Law Enforcement
Forces, adding that the special guards would be
only responsible for the protection of
historical-cultural sites within the country.
Raqouf, an advisor to the ICHO
head, further remarked that according to the
stipulations of the Third Five-Year Development
Plan (2000-2005), the organization is responsible
to form the "Cultural Heritage Guards"
through coordination with the armed forces, the
Interior Ministry and the Law Enforcement Forces.
He said so far 200 members of
the Law Enforcement Forces who are cooperating
with the ICHO for safeguarding museums and
historical monuments have been replaced in the
cultural heritage organizational structure.
Pointing to the potential risks
that are threatening the country's rich historical
and cultural heritage, Raqouf said in order to
protect historical sites and prevent theft of
cultural heritage as well as illegal excavations
and smuggling of antique objects, 208 equipped
bases should be set up throughout the country.
He said upon the approval of the
necessary fund, museum, palaces and major
historical establishments will be equipped with
modern protective means within the next three
President Mohammad Khatami in a
message on the occasion of the Cultural Heritage
Week said the entire Iran is a big museum which
reflects the ideas and initiatives of a great
nation, adding that the identity of Iran today is
fused with its own culture.
"Iran's cultural identity
is the symbol of its distinction. For the
continuation of the dialogue among civilizations
we need to realize our roots and to do that we
have to go back to the depths of our identity and
jump from ignorance to wisdom," Khatami said.
Meanwhile, an official at ICHO
announced that plans are underway to arrange
exhibitions of Iranian historical and
archaeological artifacts in Europe.
A selection of dishes,
sculptures and other historical artifacts, will be
displayed in expositions in various European
capitals in two categories: Pre-Islamic and
Some 180 pieces of dishes,
sculptures, tablets, copies of holy Qoran and
other ancient Iranian artifacts belonging to the
period ranging from 7th millennium B.C. to 4th
century A.H. will be displayed at Rome's Oriental
The project was initiated in
Vienna last year at the threshold of the Year of
Dialogue Among Civilizations (2001), and is
currently being held in Rome, where an exhibition
was inaugurated recently.
Due to growing enthusiasm of
other European countries to hold such an event,
the exhibition will be staged in Germany, Belgium,
Sweden, and Spain after Rome.
In another development, ICHO
Head Mohammad Beheshti said that a collection of
40 historical monuments would be ceded to the
private sector this Iranian year (started March
21). He enlisted the historical sites as
caravansaries, public bathrooms and residences.
He said that according to the
plan which is to be performed within the framework
of "Pardisan Project", the places would
be leased or jointly run by the private sector as
traditional tea houses and inns.
He put the total number of
historical monuments and hills under the umbrella
of the cultural heritage organization as one
million and 200,000 respectively, adding that so
far 3,700 collections have been registered as
Beheshti said the third plan has
focused special attention on Iran Cultural
Heritage Organization because, he opined, through
development of tourism cultural identity of the
country would be preserved while foreign exchange
income would be boosted as well.