MPs, Journalists Warn of National Tragedy in Persepolis

May 14, 2002
TEHRAN -- A group of Majlis deputies, journalists and politicians have written a letter to President Mohammad Khatami, warning of a "national tragedy" which they have said was unleashing in the 2,500-old decaying landmarks of Persepolis, regarded as the Persian heartland in southern Iran.

The letter signed by several cultural and political elite, including parliamentarians, journalists and theoreticians have also appealed to Khatami to "issue directives on preservation, maintenance and suitable rehabilitation of the historical premises of Takht-e Jamshid.

"Reports on the destruction of this national landmark and on laxity to protect and maintain it suitably has caused serious worries among culture-lovers," they have said.

They have also cited the "historical and national importance of Takht-e Jamshid in introducing the rich Iranian culture and civilization", especially serving as a sightseeing venue for visiting diplomatic delegations of foreign countries.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited the ruins during his four-day state visit to Iran last month.

He paid tribute to the "historical grandeur and the national pride underlying in the site" and called it a "big treasure" for the "rich" Iranian culture.

"Hard-working people created the refulgent Persian civilization and they have an important role in the progress of the humankind," said Zemin as he examined the cuneiform stone inscriptions of Persepolis which is located 60km northeast of the provincial capital city of Shiraz in the Fars Province.

Founded in the sixth century BC by the kings of the first Persian empire, the Achaemenids, Persepolis served as a ceremonial and spiritual capital.

It continued to flourish under the Achaemenian kings, until it was burnt and destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.