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Urbanization Plans Menace Iranian Historical Observatory

Experts are concerned that the site of Iran's first observatory and scientific telescope is poised to be demolished under a new urban development plan near the capital city of Tehran, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported on Monday.

As the municipality is moving ahead with its plans to construct a major highway linking the east and west of Teheran, cash-strapped officials at Tehran University Geophysics Institute are tempted to sell off the site, potentially paving the way for its destruction.

Iran's first scientific telescope, made in Germany, was installed in 1959 in Tehran observatory and was an intriguing attraction for school and university students to gaze at stars. Last week a group of people, led by Iraj Malekpour the former head of the observatory, took part in a peaceful sit-in in front of the institute and urged authorities to change their minds.

"When the municipality first tabled its proposal for the lands owned by Tehran University Geophysics Institute, we decided to transfer the observatory and its equipment to another location," Malekpour lamented. "As the highway project, though, reached the area, the officials ignored the maintenance and security arrangements and thus some thieves forced their way into the observatory and walked off with the telescope lens."

... Payvand News - 7/26/04 ... --

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