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Film Crew While Trying to Steal, Damaged 2500-Year-Old Persepolis' Bas-Reliefs


23 December 2006




Persepolis Damages1.jpg (83587 bytes)Persepolis Damages.jpg (78250 bytes)

  Picture courtesy of ISNA

LONDON, (Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav - CAIS) -- A member of a film crew recently damaged two bas-reliefs depicting Achaemenid soldiers on the wall of the Palace H, denoted to Artaxerxes in Persepolis, the Persian service of CHN reported on Thursday.


The unidentified person, who was a crew member of Hassan Fat’hi’s latest film, removed the heads of two Achaemenid soldier and a gift-bearer, with metal tools in order to steal the artifacts, said Persepolis Guard Department director Noruzi (no first name given).


“We had suspicions about several individuals in the group of cameramen from the beginning, so two guards were assigned to keep an eye on them, but one of them furtively damaged two bas-reliefs of Persepolis,” he added.


The prime suspect has been arrested, and a team of experts is investigating the level of damage.


Several months ago a part of the Xerxes Palace in Persepolis was damaged by a fire set by another film crew.


“The officials who issue permits for feature-length films with large crews are responsible for such events. We have asked the officials not to authorize groups that have applied to make feature-length films at Persepolis, but there has so far been no response to the requests,” Persepolis Ancient Complex director Maziar Kazemi said.  


"What is the point? We arrest, charge and bring the guilty party to court, then he walks free. These kind of thieves deserve to face a draconian punishment, but instead they walk free; -simply because these kind of people escape justice by either bribing the Islamic court, or  knowing a cleric to influence the court's ruling; -he could also be a member of Hezbollahis or one of his family members is a Revolutionary Guard or Basij [Islamic Militia]", said a discontent high-ranking officer with Shiraz' Police Department.


He added, "if you say something unpleasant about the Khomeini [the founder of the Islamic Republic],  you would possibly be executed without a trial, because it is considered as sacrileges, but if you damage and rob the national heritage, in another word stealing from the beytolmal [people's wealth],  which effects the generations to come, nothing would happen to you - this is the law of Islamic Iran and the treatment of the national heritage."


Following the latest catastrophe, the Cultural Heritage Guards Department has asked the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization to stop issuing permits for filming at Persepolis.





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