On Monday, January 6, in response to Administration comments that suggested that it could be appropriate to target cultural heritage sites in Iran in retribution for attack on Americans and American assets by Iran, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups nationwide joined together to urge the U.S. government to protect these irreplaceable sites. The public participated as well, with thousands of advocates signing the National Trust’s petition that asked the United States to avoid targeting Iran’s historically and culturally significant places.
On Monday evening, Defense Secretary Mike Esper clarified that the United States would “follow the laws of armed conflict” and would not target cultural sites. On Tuesday, the president also confirmed that the Administration would follow international law in this area.
With these recent developments, it appears that Iran’s cultural sites are not at immediate risk. We thank the many supporters who took action to signal that when we destroy culture anywhere, we destroy culture everywhere.