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8 July 2006
Dam to drown 7000 years of Iranian history

The never-ending story of a historical site being damaged due to development projects and dam constructions seems to never let the minds of the people of Iran rest. This time, the same story is repeated for the 7000-year-old historical site of Mehr Ali Farsi in Fars province which was partly submerged as a result of inundation of Mulla Sadra Dam.  Although Iranís Archeology Research Center has issued a certificate for carrying out excavations in this historical site, the Ministry of Energy has refused to fulfill its commitments, seeking to immediately inaugurate the dam after its construction was completed.
     "Mehr Ali Farsi is one of the most important archeological sites of Fars province and archeological excavations in this historical site could lead into revealing many unknown facts about the pre-historic period of Fars province. Despite the fact that this historical site had been identified before the inundation of Mulla Sadra Dam, the authorities of the dam have neglected the necessity for carrying out excavations in this area and started the flooding of the dam in a very short time," said Azizollah Rezayi, head of archeology team in Mehr Ali Farsi historical site. According to Rezayi, some parts of the region have already been submerged and by the start of seasonal rains in less than three months, this historical site will be drowned up to 15 meters.
     "We are determined to carry out our excavations in this historical site in the remaining three months to unearth and save as much as we can the historical relics which exist in this area. We have demanded a 100,000 US dollar budget for undertaking the excavations. However, the Ministry of Energy which is formally in charge of paying for the excavations has failed to give a penny although it has admitted that if the Archeology Research Center does not start excavations in the area, the historical site of Mehr Ali Farsi will soon be submerged due to inundation of Mulla Sadra Dam and starting of seasonal rains," added Rezayi.
     Enjoying an old civilization with numerous historical sites, Iran had already encountered bitter experiences due to construction of dams in different parts of the country where hundreds of invaluable artifacts were lying. These included Sahand Dam in East Azarbaijan which will submerge the 6000-year-old Kul Tepe site, Alborz Dam in Mazandaran province, which caused irreversible damage to cultural heritage of the eastern part of Mazandaran province, the Karun Dam in Khuzestan province, Salman-e Farsi, Mulla Sadra, Marvasht in Fars province and the most sensational one: the construction of Sivand Dam in Fars province which will drown Bolaghi Gorge and all its historical sites in a near future.

Source: CHN (2 July 2006)

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