to a report published by the Persian service of the
Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency on Sunday, the letter
reads, “The Oil Ministry’s Department of Exploration
Affairs, led by Engineer Mohaddes, has installed explosive
materials only 300 meters from the ancient site of Chogha
Zanbil for exploration work, which will cause irreparable
damage to this national and globally unique monument. In
line with Article 26 of the Iranian civil code, which
states that cultural heritage is in the public interest,
and Article 135 of the Third Development Plan, which
guarantees the protection of cultural heritage, we request
you intervene immediately into this matter.”
exploration work is being conducted by the National
Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
week, the director of the Haft-Tappeh and Chogha Zanbil
Research Base, Mehdi Maddahi, said that they were informed
about the operations by chance three days after the NIOC
workers began the exploration work.
have asked the company officials to study the threats the
wells pose to Chogha Zanbil with the cooperation of some
experts from the CHTO,” he added.
experts believe that the region has no oil resources,
however, they insist on carrying out the explorations,”
only surviving ziggurat in Iran, Chogha Zanbil is a major
remnant of the Elamite civilization, which was constructed
in the Elamite city of Dur Untash. It is located near
Susa, the ancient capital of Elam, and was registered on
the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
about 1250 BC under the direction of the Elamite ruler
Untash-Gal during the Middle Elamite period (c. 1500–c.
1000 BC), the complex was dedicated to Inshushinak (Insusinak),
the bull-god of Susa. The square base of the ziggurat, 344
feet (105 meters) on each side, was built principally of
brick and cement. It now stands 80 feet (24 meters) high,
less than half of its estimated original height.