May 01, 2018

Non-governmental organizations and national heritage societies have asked the director of the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Ali Asghar Mounesan, to explain his involvement with private companies, which have won a $4.2 billion contract to operate the Takht-e Jamshid World Heritage site. In their view, Mr. Mounesan’s position as managing director and as a board member of some of these companies constitutes a conflict of interest. They have asked Mounesan to disclose the financial records of the Takht-e Jamshid Heritage site.

These non-governmental organizations and national heritage societies are aiming to raise public awareness of the plight of ancient sites. They have been able to halt the destruction of many historic buildings in recent years. In a letter, a copy of which was posted on the Telegram channel “Monitoring Iranian Heritage,” these groups have asked Mounesan to disclose his exact position at the private companies in question.

“No explanation has been provided in this regard so far. Business executives of private companies should not run the ICHHTO. Also, how was the $4.2 billion spent on 30 projects at Takht-e Jamshid World Heritage site?” the letter said. “Given the high-profile corruption cases in recent years, which prompted President Hassan Rouhani to call for great transparency in the government, we ask you to provide details about these projects.”

The letter added: “The director of the Takht-e Jamshid World Heritage site, Rezaei Monfared, who recently resigned, must provide a comprehensive report on the projects. Other heritage sites should also publish their financial records. The director of the Pasargad World Heritage site, Hamid Fadaei, has been appointed as the temporary caretaker of Takht-e Jamshid. We urge that a new director be appointed as soon as possible.”