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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


The National Students Union of Science and Archaeology Societies Have Denounced ICHHTO’s Falsifications and Demanded Better Treatment of Iranian Heritage


01 October 2009



Hamid Baghaei, new director of ICHHTO

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Mehdi Khamoushi, the head of The Islamic Propaganda Organisation


LONDON, (CAIS) -- The National Students Union of Science and Archaeology Societies in Iran, in an open letter to Hamid Baqaee, the recently appointed director of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO), protesting to the publication of a letter which claimed to have been composed by leading Iranian archaeologists and restorers, demanding the withdrawal of the letter and better treatment of Iranian historical sites and media, reported the Persian service of CHN.


The protest letter was followed by an open letter published by ICHHTO, allegedly on behalf of veteran Iranian archaeologists and restorers to the Islamic Propaganda Organisation, attacking Mehr News Agency.


In the unsigned letter, the Persian Mehr News Agency is being blamed for creating a media frenzy regarding the poor status of Iranian heritage sites and destruction of Iranian heritage.


The leading archaeologists who were named as the authors of the letter have categorically denied any involvement and called it a fraud.


It is believed that the fraudulent letter was orchestrated by Baqaee the new director of ICHHTO and cleric Mehdi Khamoushi, the head of Islamic Propaganda Organisation. The language of the letter is considered to be below the standards of the educators and archaeologists named in the letter.


Baqaee, like many of his kind who occupy the key jobs in Iran, is an uneducated fundamentalist, who previously held low key jobs. He was given an honouree degree in IT with no background knowledge, for his service with the Basij Militia and the Revolutionary Guards.


According to the Persian site of “Hashtrood-e Qalam” Baqaee prior to coming to ICHHTO was employed by Tehran Radio as a webmaster, but was soon dismissed due to his incompetencies. He then was brought to the ICHHTO, by the previous director of ICHHTO, Esfandiar Rahim Masahaee and to everyone’s astonishment was then appointed as his deputy. They are both close friends of the Islamic regime’s appointed president, Mahmood Ahmadinejad.


In the Union’s letter to ICHHTO, they raised a number of issues, and questioned why the management posts at the ICHHTO as well as National Museum of Iran were given to uneducated individuals; - or why Mohammad Sadeqi former president of Khuzestan branch of ICHHTO who is responsible for mass destruction of Iranian heritage sites in the province, was named as “the best manager of year” and is now appointed as the director of The Fund for Revitalisation Of Historical Places.


Sadeqi was accused of corruption[1] for receiving money in exchange for issuing a permit for construction of a hotel on a national heritage site in Khuzestan, which resulted in the total destruction 10,000 sq.m. of a Partho-Sasanian cemetery.


In the letter however, The Union called for better cooperation between the ICHHTO and the media, rather than repelling the media and journalists, or banning Iranian archaeologists from giving interviews.


An Iranian archaeologist who wished to remain anonymous for his safety told CAIS: “The Mullahs should realise banning archaeologists from giving interviews, means nothing – it doesn’t stop us exposing them and giving information to media about the destruction of our heritage.”


The letter also denounced the treatment of the discovered bones in the cavity of the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great and protested to the disrespectful language of the letter that referred to the bones.


Archaeologists thought the discovered bones might have been the remains of the king whom Iranians consider as the “Father of the Nation”. The bones mysteriously vanished and later the regime claimed they belonged to an animal. No proof was offered.


The Union’s letter reads “… the language of letter published by ICHHTO is disgraceful and disrespectful stating that the bones belonged to “a dog”. Our nation is sensitive towards our national heritage, and our national historical figures. Claiming that the bones do not belong to “Cyrus” but “a dog”, is not appropriate. Using such a foul and low standard of language is unacceptable. Where in the world does a national heritage organisation talk about their national pride in such a low manner as ICHHTO? Name the researcher who scientifically carried out the test to confirm that the bones belonged to an animal, and where are the results of the test, and where are the bones now?”


The letter asked as to “why ICHHTO does not release information about the number of dams currently under construction [by the regime] over the historical sites, and why those announced ones, no archaeological research has ever been conducted to rescue the relics before the inundations of the dams?”


The letter also advised ICHHTO to do its job and protect Iranian heritage from destruction, which so far has failed in its duty, rather than them giving advice to Mehr News Agency as how to behave or control its journalists.


Mehr news agency was the one who broadcasted the news about the discovery of the bones and questioned their whereabouts.

[1] The leaders of the Islamic Republic have accumulated an unheard of wealth through corruption, bribery and embezzlement and live in opulence and luxury at the expense of the Iranian nation.


Islamic Iran ranks 88 out of 158 countries on the "Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index" (CPI) with a CPI score of 2.9 (a scale of 0 – 10 with 0 being the most corrupt). In real terms Islamic regime made bribery another form of income supplement and for some a primary source of income. Corruption encouraged at every level, which have nowadays have become an accepted part of every day life - from gifting the postman to make sure one’s mail is delivered to major corruption on the international level in the oil and its related industries.


In October 7, 2008, a container-load of US dollars and gold bullions was intercepted by Turkish authorities. The container which was heading for Europe contained $7.5 billion and 20 metric tons of gold. In early 2009 an Iranian merchant called Esmail Safarian claimed the ownership of the container, He is confirmed to be a member of Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards. Turkey initially confirmed the news and permitted the media to film the container and its contents ( but in July 2009 after speaking with their counterparts in Tehran it was denied through the Islamic Republic Press TV (


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