United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO Director-General offers condolences and support to Iran following tragic earthquake

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has conveyed his condolences to the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran, following the terrible earthquake that struck the country yesterday morning. In a letter to President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, Mr Matsuura expressed his distress at the “cruel loss of so many lives” and offered his “sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims at this time of national mourning.”

Mr. Matsuura promised UNESCO’s support in safeguarding the cultural heritage of the stricken city of Bam, one of the Iran’s most famous historical sites and home to the two-thousand year-old Arg-e-Bam (Bam Citadel), the largest earthen structure in the world. According to estimations, about 80 percent of the city has been destroyed and the citadel extensively damaged.

“I was also greatly saddened to learn of the damage inflicted on Iran’s invaluable cultural heritage in the ancient city of Bam” Mr Matsuura wrote. “Please rest assured that the Organization stands ready to provide the Iranian authorities all possible assistance.”

The Government of Iran had intended to nominate Bam for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and has appealed to the Organization for help to mobilize international support to safeguard the city’s heritage.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes four sites in Iran. They are: Persepolis, Tchoga Zanbil, Meidan Emam, Esfahan and Takht-e Soleyman.

Source Press Release N°2003-107
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Editorial Contact: Abdin Salih, Director, UNESCO Office in Teheran - Tel : +98 21 67 28 242/243
- Email a.salih@unesco.org
Publication Date 27 Dec 2003
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