UNESCO Director-General reminds US of responsibility to save cultural sites

Tehran, Jan 7, IRNA – The Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said in a meeting with Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Jalali on Monday that the US is responsible to protect cultural heritage in possible hostility.

The Director-General recalled the provisions of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, two legal instruments that have been ratified by both the United States and Iran.

After assassination of Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani, US President Donald Trump wrote in a series of tweets that if Iran makes a move to avenge the assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani, the United States will "target 52 Iranian sites" and that some were "at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself."

The 1972 Convention stipulates, inter alia, that each State Party “undertakes not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage […] situated on the territory of other State Parties to this Convention.”

UNESCO Director-General also recalled the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 adopted unanimously in 2017, which condemns acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

Ms Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations.

Trump’s threats against Iran’s cultural sites caused widespread backlash from various international organizations and personalities including senior American politicians and diplomats from across the globe.

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