First Archaeologists, Now Tourism Officials in Iran Are Banned From Giving Interviews
LONDON, (CAIS) -- Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) has recently forbidden its executives to be interviewed by the news media, or for them to disclose any information to the press on the number of foreign tourists visiting Iran.
The order was issued by Reza Musavi, the new deputy director of ICHTHO.
The report was published on Wednesday by the Persian service of CHN after several CHTHO provincial directors refused to give information about the number of tourists to the news agency.
“According to a CHTHO memorandum, we don’t have permission to give out the number of tourists visiting Iran,” South Khorasan Province Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department Deputy Director Morteza Arabi told CHN.
Kordestan Province Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department Deputy Director Farshid Chechani also declined to reveal any information and said that every application requesting information about the subject must be sent straight to the CHTHO director.
The CHTHO Public Relations Office has confirmed the report and said, “The CHTHO deputy director has prohibited all provincial departments to publish any statistics on tourism.”
The number of foreign tourists visiting Iran has declined over the past few months.
Last July, Hamid Baqaii succeeded CHTHO’s controversial former director Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii. After him, the former CHTHO Public Relations Office director Reza Musavi, who had unofficially banned Iranian press and media, was then appointed as his deputy director.
Last Mach ICHTHO had prohibited archaeologists working at ancient Iranian sites from giving interviews to the Iranian press.
Over the past five years, Iranian archaeologists have published a great deal of information exposing the Islamic Republic and the destruction of ancient Iranian historical sites under the guise of construction projects.