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Oppositions to Inundation of Sivand Dam Still Continue

By Soudabeh Sadigh
Tehran, 14 February 2007 (CHN) -- Today, a group of cultural heritage enthusiasts and NGOs gathered in front of Iran’s Islamic Parliament in Tehran to voice their objection to the flooding of Sivand Dam in Fars province once again. Protesters carried placards in support of saving historical sites which are located in Bolaghi Gorge behind the Sivand Dam and will submerge with inundation of the dam.
Bolaghi Gorge

According to CHN correspondent, what distinguishes this gathering from the others is the wide variety of crowd who have come from different Iranian provinces including Fars, Khuzestan, and Isfahan with a coherent approach to express their anger with drowning of Iranian historical sites. Attendance of some ethnic groups among the crowd with their traditional dresses who have come from long distances to take part in this gathering all indicates that the issue has become a matter of great national concern. With signing a declaration, more than 30 political teams have also announced their disagreement with inundation of Sivand Dam.
Protesters have threatened that they would continue their objections through other governmental organizations if they do not receive a positive response to this request by the  Parliament.       
Earlier to this, Amir Reza Khadem, member of Cultural Commission of Iran’s Parliament told CHN that in an attempt to put an end to this crisis, he has proposed the possibility for flooding the reservoir of the dam only up to 1800 meters high to Iran’s President during his recent attendance in the Parliament. Kadem believes that this height of water would prevent the possible damages which the inundation of the dam would pose to the historical sites in the area including the tomb of Cyrus the Great, located 9-kilometer distance of the dam.

Protesters in front of Iran’s Ministry of Energy on February 7

Condemning the weak policies of the president of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) towards Sivand Dam, Khadem told CHN: “Iran’s Minister of Energy has accused ICHTO for showing indifference toward the inundation of Sivand Dam by failing to fulfill its obligation for submitting a comprehensive record about the negative consequences of flooding of the dam to this Ministry. Meanwhile it is also said that authorities of the Organization have unofficially announced their agreement with inundation of the dam.”   
Member of Cultural Commission of Iran’s Parliament expressed hope that Iran’s Ministry of Energy and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization would reach to an agreement based on this proposal provided that Iran’s President announces his agreement within the shortest time.
The news about construction of Sivand Dam in Bolaghi Gorge which is an important archeological site close to the world heritage site of Pasargadae raised many concerns among cultural heritage enthusiasts all over the world. Ever since the initial phase of Sivand Dam construction, large groups of archeologists and experts from Iran and across the globe became engaged in an emergency salvation project to save the remaining historical evidence at Bolaghi Gorge before inundation of the dam made this salvation project the biggest one ever in the history of Iran’s archeological activities. 
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