Minister’s mistake draws attention to defense of Iranian heritage


Many ordinary Iranians will celebrate Cyrus the Great’s Day on October 29th, which can turn into a politicized event that the Islamic government may try to prevent.

While authorities have made every effort in recent years to make Cyrus the Great’s Day a low-key event and discourage Iranians from visiting his tomb in Pasargadae, mistakes by President Ebrahim Raisi and one of his ministers warned everyone in the Iran that Cyrus Day (October 29th) is approaching.

Last week, during a visit to Fars Province in southern Iran, where the Achaemenid monuments Persepolis from the 6th during the ancient dynasty, especially Cyrus the Great, were internationally known as an advocate of human rights and tolerance of religious and ethnic diversity is.

Culture and Tourism Minister Ezatollah Zarghami made a bigger and more controversial mistake during his visit to Pasargadae last week. In the countryside where digging too many wells as well as mismanagement of other water resources have resulted in massive sinkholes on the Iranian plateau, Zarghami suggested that the government should allow more wells around the historic site.

The top hat of Cyrus, which proclaims the protection of rights

Critics in the press and on social media pointed out that even without new wells, the tomb of Cyrus can disappear into a deep sinkhole every day. Others claimed on social media that Zarghami forgot his role is to protect cultural heritage rather than promoting agricultural products.

A comment on the Asr Iran news website reminded Zarghami what he suggested was like “planting carrots on a gold mine”. Zarghami soon withdrew his comment as attacks escalated on social media, but the damage was done.

Social media users such as Cultural activist Mohammad Bagher Tabatabai warned Zarghami that “The tomb of Cyrus the Great has a place in the heart of every Iranian. You can never destroy it.”

In recent years, especially after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and despite the violent crackdown on the monarchical demonstrations by Iranian officials, thousands of Iranians have visited Pasargadae to pay tribute to the great old king. The party became a political event in October 2016 when thousands of visitors to the tomb began chanting slogans against the Islamic Republic.

The following year and every year thereafter, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) sent troops to the region and blocked all roads to Pasargadae to prevent the celebrations. Even so, thousands of young men and women managed to gather around the monument and sing patriotic hymns.

The comment on Asr Iran’s website states, “Zarghami has never been a tourist or tour guide and has no experience in protecting cultural heritage. He is a former IRGC officer who studied urban planning and industrial management. Although he was deputy minister of culture for cinema, surprisingly someone like him has a mandate to protect the country’s cultural heritage. “

The comment reminded Zarghami that tourism can produce more financial resources than agriculture. The website suggested to Zarghami to check out Iranian neighbors like Turkey and see how they make money from tourism. “Turkey’s income from tourism is higher than Iran’s income from oil. Last year Turkey made $ 29.5 billion from tourism,” the website said, citing the Anatolia news agency.

In 1979 the “hanging judge” Sadeq Khalkhali, who killed hundreds after the revolution, had a plan to demolish all monuments including Persepolis as heretical idolatry, but intellectuals and patriotic Iranians prevented the destruction of the sites. Later, most Iranian officials, particularly former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, realized that they could count on the public interest in Iran’s historical heritage for assistance. Raisi and Zarghami’s mistakes could signal a return to the hanging judge’s ideas.


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