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Iran's Parliament Response to Tchogha Zanbil Explorations

Iran's Parliament has asked the Ministry of Petroleum to explain about the explorations in the vicinity of Tchogha Zanbil.

Tehran, 3 November 2005 (CHN)-- Following the worsening situation of the heritage site of Tchogha Zanbil due to exploration activities of Iranian Ministry of Petroleum to dig oil wells to determine the underground oil resources in the vicinity of Tchogha Zanbil, Hamid Zanganeh, Iranian MP from the city of Ahvaz, and a member of Development Commission of the Iranian parliament have announced that members of the Parliament from Ahvaz will follow the issue.

In an interview with CHN parliament correspondent, Zanganeh insisted on existing a special attention to the historical and Cultural Heritage of the country. "There is no doubt that in order to provide the budget, Iran needs to explore for oil and other underground resources, but for sure our historical sites which are an evidence of the history of the country should not fall victim to such explorations," says Zanganeh.

"In regard to the explorations near Tchogha Zanbil, we have had some negotiations with the manager of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Khuzestan province and they are supposed to study the place of exploration carefully. At the same time we have asked the authorities of the Ministry of Petroleum to determine the kind of explosive materials supposed to be used during the exploration activities," added Zanganeh.

Zanganeh mentioned that the use of TNT explosive materials during exploration activities is in contrast with the world tenets. "Today the methods of exploration have progressed so that there is no need to use such explosive material. There are even some explosive materials which do not cause any harm to the buildings in a 10-meter distance. The Ministry of Petroleum must use this kind of explosive materials," explained Zanganeh.

The historical site of Tchogha Zanbil is located south-west of Iran in Khouzestan province, 30 km south-west of Susa, the famous capital of Elam at a close distance from Dez River which is one of the branches of the larger Karun River.

The large Tchogha Zanbil temple is one of the ancient monuments of Iran registered on UNESCO World Heritage List. The architecture employed in the ziggurat resembles those of Egyptian pyramids and Mayan temples. The town and its ziggurat which were built by order of Untash-Gal, the Elamite king (1275-1240 B.C.) were originally called Dur Untash.

The Tchogha Zanbil ziggurat is the only surviving ziggurat in Iran and is one of the most important remnants of the Elamite civilization. The site is currently undergoing restoration and preservation attempts by cooperation of Japanese and UNESCO experts.

Now, the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran has started digging deep oil wells with the depth of 15 meters to identify the underground oil resources in the vicinity of Tchogha Zanbil without coordination of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran (ICHTO).

According to Maddahi, director of the Research Center of Haft Tepe and Tchogha Zanbil, the research center found out about the project by chance, and then demanded the authorities of the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran to halt the project for now to study the situation more carefully with cooperation of ICHTO experts.

... Payvand News - 11/3/05 ... --

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