April 21, 2007, RFE/RL -- Around 100 Iranians demonstrated in Tehran today against a dam project that critics say will likely flood the country's grandest archeological sites.
Protesters carried banners and symbols from Iran's pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religion and called for the resignation of the top culture and heritage official.
On April 19, Iranian engineers opened pipes for water to flow into an artificial lake created by the dam spanning the Sivand River, south of Tehran. Archaeologists say the water is likely to submerge more than 100 ancient sites, including Persepolis.
Persepolis is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., it was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire.
UNESCO says the importance and quality of the monumental ruins make it a unique archaeological site.
Iran's current government has not shown much concern for cultural sites from the Persian era, unlike the more recent Muslim monuments.
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