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Construction of Another Dam and Further Destruction of Iranian Heritage


21 September 2006



Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- A new tragedy is unfolding for the ancient sites of the Izeh region, as the Islamic Regime's Ministry of Energy plans the construction of yet another dam on the Sussan Plain in the Khuzestan Province.


The Sussan historical plain in the Khuzestan province, is the birthplace of Elamite and Achaemenid civilizations. With the construction and inundation of Karun II Dam, this historic plain along with all its invaluable archeological sites will be submerged.


The KCHTD (Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department) recently sent a letter to the Ministry of energy requesting its officials begin archaeological studies before the project becomes operational on the Sussan Plain, where many Elamite, Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid dynastic eras sites are located.


“The studies, which will evaluate the cultural significance of the site, should be carried out by the Ministry of Energy,” KCHTD director Sadeq Mohammadi told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.


“The ministry will select a number of cultural studies advisors and the ICHTO will supervise them,” he added, but evaded a question about relocation of the dam.


Karun II Dam will be 125 meters in height and 382 meters in width. Its reservoir will have the capacity to store 206 million cubic meters of water.


It is not the first time, historical sites in Iran are in danger, either due to a lack of cooperation between different organizations or intentionally. In any case it results in the destruction of Iranian heritage, mainly pre-Islamic. The best example is the infamous Sivand dam in the Bolaghi Valley, which after inundation will devour 130 historical sites from pre-historic to Sasanian dynasty, and the humidity that generates from the artificial lake behind the dam is going to be an immense threat to Pasargadae and Cyrus the Great mausoleum's structural integrity.


Two years ago, another dam named Karun III was inaugurated in Khuzestan which devastated the archeological site behind it. Experts believe that archaeological salvage began too late for the ancient sites which were located in the area currently occupied by the reservoir of the Karun-III Dam, which came on stream in November 2004 and devoured many ancient sites and artifacts dating back to the Elamite era, the Stone Age, and the Epipaleolithic periods (20,000-10,000 BCE).


Experts say a similar fate awaits the ancient sites located in the area to be flooded by the reservoir of the Karun-II Dam.


Similar case was the destruction of historical sites behind Kuh-e Shur Dam in Izeh, in the Khuzestan province, which was constructed by Islamic Agricultural-Jihad Ministry (Islamic Crusade for Agriculture) , which is one example of the many similar cases.


The Islamic Jihad for Agricultural was also promised to submit the plans of the Kuh-e Shur Dam to ICHTO Khuzestan provincial department before the construction began. However, not so surprisingly, the Ministry did not honor their agreement, and the dam illegally was built without informing the Organization and no one dared to question them. The ministry's action resulted in the loss of irreplaceable Iranian heritage. 


Bizarrely the dam construction projects in Iran have become the most serious threats to ancient sites and cultural heritage over the past decades. The choice of locations by the regime for constructing the new Dam, chemical factories and hotels, over or in the vicinity of pre-Islamic Iranian sites are questionable, and cannot be coincidental. The Islamic regime's enmity towards anything Iranian, especially pre-Islamic heritage is rather prevalent knowledge.


Dogmatic-clerics and hezbolllahis began their strategy for suppressing Iranian culture and civilisation immediately after the 1979 revolution, which has been alleviated in recent years. One of the most-notorious clerics in Iran, Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali, who was renowned for his brutality and mass executions in post-revolutionary Iran, had hopelessly tried to bulldoze and level-down Persepolis, and after that the mausoleum of Master Ferdowsi, the greatest Persian epic poet in Tus. The two Achaemenid sites of Persepolis and Pasargadae, as well as the historical figures of Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, Ferdowsi and his great masterpiece, Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), have always been the objects of abhorrence by the regime's prominent members and anti-Iranians in general.


"Today, the choice of sites for these so-called development projects have been carefully designated by the regime, in accordance with the policy of de-Iranianisation of the country, that has been in force since 7th century. These Dam constructions serve no other purpose but to destroy the physical evidence from the pre-Islamic Iranian era. They are hopelessly trying to erase the memories of Iran's glorious past, which have been the key factor in shaping Iranian cultural identity for thousands of years", said an archaeologist working with Khuzestan' ICHTO, who wished to remained anonymous for his safety.


Another archaeologist from the same department who also wished to remain anonymous added: "Unfortunately, these on-going destructions and plundering of our national heritage are a fraction what we see or hear. Until we do not show a nationwide solidarity that we care about our national heritage, our national identity will remain under constant attack from the regime. promoting and protecting our cultural heritage, pre-Islamic as well as Islamic is vital to our cultural identity and the Islamic regime has found new method to tackle this historical unity."


He added: "Their cunning plan is to destroy our cultural heritage in a subtle manner; by building dams and factories in the name of development projects; - creeping Arabic words into Persian language in the name of religion; suppressing Iranian culture, rejecting Iranian celebrations to the point of banning like Chaharshanbeh Suri, and instead, promoting Arabian celebrations in the name of Islam."






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