People, Travel

Soltanifar: We Can’t Pressure Farmers for Persepolis

Soltanifar: We Can’t Pressure Farmers for PersepolisSoltanifar: We Can’t Pressure Farmers for Persepolis

Measures to save the iconic ruins of Persepolis in Fars Province might impact the local farmers’ livelihoods, Iran’s highest ranking cultural heritage official said.

Excessive withdrawal from illegal water wells and agricultural activity around Persepolis have intensified the worsening situation of land subsidence in some areas of the ancient ruin.

However, sealing the wells will affect crop output and may put many farmers out of business.

“We can’t put [the farmers] under pressure for Persepolis,” Masoud Soltanifar, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, told ILNA.

The official noted that teams have set up equipment to monitor the subsidence in Persepolis and Marvdasht Plain, but aside from the already-implemented measures (which include closing some wells), other measures to curb agricultural water use could endanger the livelihood of the locals.

“If the governorate of Fars Province collaborates with us, we may be able to curb water use in the region as part of a long-term plan to prevent further damage to the historical site,” he said.

“Although protection of Persepolis is a government priority, we don’t need to expand the site’s boundaries (known as a buffer zone) because the land subsidence has not reached sensitive areas.”

This is while earlier this month in a letter to Fars Governor General Mohammad Ali Afshani and Soltanifar, Iran’s Natural and Historical Monuments Watch said cracks in earth around Persepolis were only observed in the eastern wing of the ruins eight years ago, but they have now progressed toward the western and southern flanks as well.

According to the locals, at least four wells have been dug very close to Persepolis.