Some of the members of the Iranian regime’s parliament have submitted a plan on the ‘optimal use of antiquities and treasures,’ which is suspected to be the base for auctioning and looting Iran’s historical artifacts.
This plan has already caused many concerns among the archaeological community and the supporters of cultural heritage. This community believes that the approval of such a plan will give legal legitimacy to the excavations and illegal smuggling of historical objects by the regime’s parliament.
Background of the plan:
Back in 2010, Hamid Baghaei, at the time the head of the regime’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, presented a plan with the same name to the Iranian parliament, but at that time this plan was not approved, and eventually, it was removed from the agenda of the parliament due to the objections. Baghaei was later reported to have been planning to set up a market for buying and selling historical objects in Qeshm and Kish Islands.
Twelve years later, this plan has once again been presented to parliament, this time by the regime’s MPs. This turn of events is indeed surprising as the major duty of the parliament is to prioritize the protection of the national heritage, antiques, and treasures.
As regards Iran’s cultural heritage, the regime has set up inefficient laws to deal with smugglers of historical objects and antiques, which is a major problem as this practice is becoming extremely commonplace, even in cyberspace.
When this latest plan was introduced to the government, the regime’s MPs mentioned that this plan was being actioned because historical objects and antiques are being sold on the black market, and therefore, they must prevent this illegal activity.
As for the benefits of this plan, the regime has stated that the sale of these objects will provide the country with foreign currency. In a more precise sense, the regime is intending to find an alternative way to pay for its malign financial activities.
It goes without saying that in the wake of the country’s dire economic situation, and the inadequacy of the regime to improve the situation leaving the economy in a state of complete bankruptcy, such plans can only signify the regime’s intentions for blatant looting and legalizing it, while at the same time usurping the national assets of the Iranian people. The regime’s officials and leaders have a long history in this regard.
In a letter to the regime’s parliament speaker Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf, Iran’s archeologists asked him, “Which country do you know, with a historical background like Iran, auctions its national and cultural assets for cash inflow?”
In their letter, they stated, “It has been a long time that the rein of protecting the achievements and cultural heritage of our beloved Iran is out of the hands of those in charge. The number of damaged and looted archeological sites is out of number, and the only solution is to change the law, but not in favor of the profiteer.”
The archeologists went on to state, “Only a glance of any archaeological graduate is enough to clarify that the creators of the project are not only unaware of the axioms and alphabets of archeology, but also they did not gain any consultation of any official archaeological institutions in the country; The presence of the shameless and misleading word ‘treasure’ in the title of the plan makes everything crystal clear.”
Following the objections of the archaeologists, regime MP Hossein Jalali explained that there is negligence in the plan that provides the ground for the smugglers and gives the profiteers free rein. He stated, “To this end, we realized that the plan needed to be modified.”
According to the MPs, the benefits of the plan are as follows:
- Iran will become a regional hub for the trade of antiquities, providing the country with foreign currency.
- It will create a new source of revenue for the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage to help them purchase and preserve antiquities.
- It will provide abundant job creations for graduates of fields related to history, gemology, and archeology.
- It will preserve the treasures of civilization and ancient heritage from destruction and unprofessional excavations.
- It will also preserve the treasures of civilization and ancient heritage by selling them at a bargain price to brokers and smugglers.