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UNESCO to Decide on Naghsh-e Jahan & Sultanieh in Durban


18 June 2005


For the first time since the formation of UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 1972, its annual conference will be held in sub-Saharan Africa this year, where it will make the final decision on the registration of new sites on its World Heritage List, including Iran’s Soltanieh Dome.


An expert of the International Department of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) said on Saturday that he believes Soltanieh will definitely be added to the list based on reports about it submitted by experts of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).


Abdorrasul Vatandust added that UNESCO Deputy Director General for Culture Muniro Bushnakito, who visited Iran in February, is confident that Soltanieh will be registered on the UNESCO list.


The Soltanieh Dome is the tallest brick edifice in the Islamic world and is a stunning example of the art and culture of Iran. The mausoleum of Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh Oljeitu, known as the Soltanieh Dome, is located in the southeastern section of the city of Soltanieh, which is near Zanjan in northwestern Iran.


Although Iranian and foreign experts are optimistic about the registration of Soltanieh on the UNESCO list, they also believe that Isfahan’s Naqsh-e Jahan Square will probably be added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, since the calls for modification of the controversial Jahan-Nama Tower by Islamic regime's revolutionary guards, which is located west of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, have been rejected.


The ambassador and permanent delegate of the Islamic Republic Iran to UNESCO, Ahmad Jalali, stated that the committee has announced that it is prepared to make its final decision about the square.


The last chance to modify the Jahan-Nama Tower is approaching, and Iran has not taken any serious steps, he added.


In this years’ committee, reports on the current status of world heritage at risk such as Buddha statues in Afghanistan and the Bam Cultural Landscape of Iran, which both were registered on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, will also be reviewed.  



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