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French Officials Obstruct Parisians’ View of Iran’s Starry Nights




26 September 2005


The Paris Observatory (Observatoire de Paris) has canceled the exhibition “Iran, from Sky to Earth”, which was to open on September 27, Iran’s cultural attaché in France announced on Monday.


Hojjatollah Ayyubi said that no reasons were given for the cancellation of the exhibition, which was to display photos of Iran’s starry sky, historical monuments, and slides taken by Iranian astronomers.


The main part of the exhibition was to focus on photos and posters of the night sky of Fars Province and Persepolis, the entrance stairs of the Paris Observatory was to be decorated in Iranian style, and a replica of one of the capitals of Persepolis was to be placed at the entrance, he had explained before the event was cancelled.


Several Iranian and foreign experts had been invited to participate in a conference on astronomy which had been scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the exhibition, and short documentaries on astronomy in Iran were scheduled to be screened.


UNESCO Secretary-General Koichiro Matsuura was to be the guest of honor in the opening ceremony. Musicians from IRIB had also been invited to perform at the opening ceremony. The exhibition had been scheduled to be held concurrently with the foreign cultural weeks in Paris.


Astronomer Purya Nazemi, who had been invited to make a speech at the opening ceremony, called the decision of the Paris Observatory officials a political move in reaction to the recent dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, the Persian service of ISNA reported.


Ayyubi stressed that he would make strenuous efforts to make arrangements to stage the exhibition in a new venue in the near future.  




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