Iran's rich architecture and rare treasures threatened by possible US

· Many ancient remains are close to nuclear plants
· Archaeologists anxious to avoid repeat of Iraq chaos

Maev Kennedy
Monday March 5, 2007
The Guardian

In his quiet office at the British Museum, among the portraits of
long-dead explorers and copies of 3,000-year-old inscriptions, one of
the greatest experts on the archaeology of the Middle East has a series
of maps of Iranian nuclear installations spread out across his desk.
John Curtis's maps fill him with foreboding: because they show how many
of Iran's nuclear plants are perilously close to ancient cultural sites.

Natanz, home to a uranium enrichment plant, is renowned for its
exquisite ceramics; Isfahan, home to a uranium conversion plant, is also
a Unesco world heritage site and was regarded in the 16th century as the
most beautiful city on earth.



Tehran, 4 March 2007 (CHN Foreign Desk) -- The second day of the
International Conference on Tourism of Islamic Countries started this
morning with a speech delivered by Dr. Raouf Al-Ansari, expert in
Islamic Art and Architecture and former advisor of Iraq’s Tourism Board.
Ansari delivered his speech under the title of “Aesthetics of Arts of
Islamic Architecture in Iraq and It’s role in Islamic Tourism.”

“The majority of Islamic countries have succeeded in preserving their
heritage and Islamic art through the ages. This success has, to a great
extent, contributed to the development of Islamic tourism in these
countries as in the Islamic cities of Isfahan, Samarqand, Bukhara,
Istanbul, Damascus, Cairo, Morocco, etc. It has also contributed to the
development of other landmarks of Islamic civilization in non-Islamic
countries which have been turned into tourist attractions sites visited
by millions of tourists all over the world such as Andalusia in Spain,
Taj Mahal in India and the mosques in the Balkan countries,” said Ansari.