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Iran: Drowning History
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 14, 2008

You remember the Taliban using artillery to destroy the ancient Buddas carved into the hillsides there? Well now we have Iran engaged in flooding an ancient archaeological site in the supposed name of modernity. Opponents of the flooding seem to feel the reason has more to do with rewriting Persian history than a need for a modern dam:
The Iranian ayatollahs are planning on destroying the tomb as part of a general campaign to sever the Persian people from their non-Islamic heritage; Cyrus was thought to be a Zoroastrian and was one of the first rulers to enforce a policy of religious tolerance on his huge kingdom. Journalist Ran Porat quoted a young Iranian who said that the measures being taken by the Islamic Republic’s regime include the destruction of archaeological sites significant to this heritage.

“The government is in the final stages of constructing a dam in southern Iran that will submerge the archaeological sites of Pasargad and Persopolis – the ancient capital of the Persian Empire,” the report states. “The site, which is considered exceptional in terms of its archaeological wealth and historical importance, houses the tomb of the Persian King Cyrus.”

Cyrus, who lived from 576-530 BCE, liberated Babylonian Jewry from their exile in the famous Declaration of Cyrus (mentioned in the book of Ezra in both Hebrew and Aramaic).
Ah, the key word - "Jewry". You see, King Cyrus was actually a benevolent and enlightened (relatively speaking) ruler who authorized the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Holy Temple.

Can't have any ancient Jew lovers in modern Iran, now, can we? Might set a bad precedence. And of course, doing what was done for the innumerable ancient Egyptian relics threated by the Asswan dam project just can't be done in Iran, can it?

Out of sight is out of mind. I assume the text books are next.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

There you go again, McQ, twisting the misunderstood and misrepresented Iranian actions into something political when, clearly, it isn’t.

Iran is in the process of economic growth and flexing its spending powers. Part of that, obviously, is the control of water. It has NOTHING at all to do with the Jews. After all, there is religious freedom in Iran (unlike here in the states, where people are crucified publicly for not converting to Christianity), so what would they benefit from re-evaluating their own history?

Besides, if it’s in the Bible, it obviously didn’t happen, so it’s ok if we scratch that part out. It was probably just all made up, anyway. You can read all about it in my blog.
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://
This is just the beginning.
Yeah, just think how cool it would be if the Orthodox Greeks were to finish the work started by the Turkish munitions on the Parthanon
perhaps it would be better if the Church of England got rid of that much ballyhoo’d solar observatory on Salisbury plain...

hmmmm, I know...DOWN WITH THE PYRMAIDS (pave paradise, put up a parking lot!)

Written By: looker
URL: http://
DOWN WITH THE PYRAMIDS (spelling corrected)
Actually one of the reasons so many of the European cities and capitals have so many ancient Egyptian artifacts is that the Egyptians were literally giving them away. Like the Iranians and the Afghans after them, they saw them as artifacts of an unenlightened pagan age. Give the infidel artifacts to the infidels.

Of course they saw the error of their ways eventually and now when someone like the Iranians or Afghanis try to flush their history down the drain, the Egyptians generally stand up and tell them how much they will regret it later. Once you destroy ancient artifacts, you can’t just get them back.
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
No! I want the Pyre-maids torn down! (I corrected the spelling too!)

Actually, thanks Jeff. Pretty horrendous spelling ain’t it?
Written By: looker
URL: http://
This story about Iranian "drowning" of Pasargad and Persepolis is absolute nonsense!

"Not only the Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargadae, but it has proven to be the first opportunity for Iranian and foreign archaeologists to collaborate on a salvage project since the 1979 Revolution, discovering valuable and important information relevant to Achaemenid and other periods of occupation in the region."
Written By: hass
URL: http://
yeah Haas, I see demonstrating that a fake persian queen was foisted on the public is proof that archeological sites won’t be destroyed.

You might want to dig deeper, the year is 2008, and it seems there are many sites in the gorge that will be covered by water.
Significant? Well, the Iranians won’t know after they’re under the waves.

As for Pasargad and Cyrus’s tomb, from what I can find in other places those seem safe, but it’s certainly a political issue of major proportion so everything I read makes me skeptical (either way now).
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Drowning Persepolis? Small potatoes. Consider what China is doing to the Yangtze gorges. Or, without any excuse at all, what the Arabs in charge of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem are doing to any and all remains of the Temple they can find—including digging underground to construct mosques while destroying underground remains.

I suspect the mullahs aren’t thinking of Cyrus the liberator of nations so much as the Zoroasterian king, and probably the shah’s spectacle at Persepolis near the end of his rule adds a bit of panache to the idea of destruction.
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://
I suspect that included Persepolis to get attention (it got mine). Having been there, I seriously doubt that, one, it is feasible (engineering-wise), and two, that the Mullahs are that stupid. Drowning Persepolis would be akin to the Greeks razing the Acropolis. Not only is it hugely significant historically, but it is a cash cow, a tourist destination as well.

In fact, tooling around in GoogleEarth, even the Pasargadae site seems improbable for a damn. Until I see anything more concrete (or earthen), I’d mark this story up as... propaganda.

kishnevi, the Three Gorge project in China has huge economic benefits - not unlike damning up the Colorado or Columbia - and ecological downsides. Unlike the Aswan High Damn, these have been built where it makes engineering sense.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Damn the double negative.
should read: "quite like damning up the Colorado or Columbia..."
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The Hoover Damn covered a lot - but I always prefer the God Damn or the Givva Damn.
Written By: looker
URL: http://

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