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$250 Budget for Bistun' World Heritage Site


22 December 2006



By: Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- The management team at Bistun historical site was hoping its registration with UNESCO’ World Heritage List would be an end to the site's hardship days. It was further hoped that the increase in funds would allow more attention to be paid by cultural heritage authorities towards the historical monuments of the site.  However, this was not the case. 


Since its registration, their financial situation has worsened, to the point that only $250 worth of funds have remained to cover the cost of research, management, logistic and security of the site until the end of the Iranian new year (21 March), according to a report by Persian service of ISNA.


“Kermanshah Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (KCHTO) has paid only $6,500 from the promised £65,000, in which $6,250 has already being spent, and we have been left with only $250 to live on, until the end of the year (21 March 2007)”, said Malihe Mehdiabadi, director of Bistun Cultural Research Centre.


She added, “in a letter to the director of ICHTO [Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei], I have explained the hardship and difficulties that we are facing here -- I have not received any reply from him”.


With regard to the devastating situation of the Sasanian Bridge of Khosrow, Mehdabadi said, “This Bridge is on the verge of collapse, and no measures have been taken in order to protect it from total destruction, despite all the warnings.”


The lack of budget and neglect of Iranian heritage is happening while the Islamic Republic are executing 300 reconstruction projects in the Iraqi cities of Karbala, Najaf and Kazamain (ISNA November 29, 2006), in which one of the projects in Karbala known as the “Safinat ul-Nejah” has cost the Iranian tax-payers US $7.5 million-dollars; - in December 2005, the regime spent $1.57 million dollars, only for retiling and paving the tomb of 11th shi'a imam at Kazemain (ISNA January 01, 2006).


The Islamic Republic which is constantly spending hundreds of millions of dollars of the Iranian assets every year in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq; while Bistun and hundreds of other Iranian heritage sites are in danger of destruction as the result of lack of financial aid, in which a fraction of the money that is being spent for futile aims in Arab countries could be used to save Iranian heritage from destruction.

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