People, Travel

Hoteliers Berate Shiraz Officials

Hoteliers Berate Shiraz OfficialsHoteliers Berate Shiraz Officials

The Iranian Hoteliers Society has responded officially to the demolition of the illegal construction of additional floors of a hotel building in Shiraz, Fars Province.

According to Mehr News Agency, the society has censured the manner in which the situation was handled by the relevant authorities and condemned it as “petulant and vengeful”.

Local media reported last year that the hotel, under construction in close vicinity of the historical complex Arg of Karim Khan (Karim Khan Citadel), was in breach of four floors above what the construction permits allowed.

The hotel – initially called “Jam-e-Jam” and later renamed to Aseman – was issued a construction permit for 14 floors, but the owner ignored that permission and decided to build an 18-floor hotel.

The construction of the illegal floors raised concerns among activists and authorities alike as they argued that the hotel had ruined the skyline behind the historical site, hindering the process of its inscription on the coveted UNESCO World Heritage List.

Municipality officials told the owner several times to demolish the extra floors, to no avail, which forced Shiraz authorities to take legal action. Following Mayor Gholam Reza Shahriari’s call for legal action against the construction in an official statement, Shiraz prosecutor Tahmasb Yazdanian ordered the owner to knock down the additional floors last November based on a bylaw of the Supreme Council of Architecture and Urban Development.

Following the owner’s refusal to comply with the court order, the municipality took on the task on April 22 by tearing down one and a half floors.

The statement by the IHS reprimanded the way in which the case has been handled with regards to the legal and judicial rights of both parties to the case.

“At a time when investing in tourism industry is not economically feasible due to the numerous hurdles, and given the increasing need to develop infrastructure such as hotels, the authorities’ action is petulant and vengeful, which will drive domestic and foreign investors away from the tourism industry,” the statement said.

Calling for a “revision” of the court order, the IHS urged legal action “against those responsible” for demolishing the illegally-built storeys.

Following the execution of the court order, Moayad Mohsen Nejad, deputy head of the provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization, said the organization has no intention of creating tension and divisions, and “is determined to make sure everyone’s rights are upheld, including Arg of Karim Khan’s right to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”