Statement | Washington, DC | January 6, 2020

National Trust for Historic Preservation Urges the U.S. Government to Protect Iran’s Cultural Heritage Sites

As an institution founded after the Second World War by the unsung hero of the original “Monuments Men” brigade, which worked to protect the cultural treasures of Europe from the Nazi regime, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has long recognized that the intentional destruction of cultural sites is a blemish on all humankind—a principle now enshrined in international law.

Historic places around the world are part of the cultural heritage that belongs to all of us. We suffer a collective loss when places of cultural significance are destroyed in times of conflict or other disasters. Just as we were horrified when we witnessed the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas at the hands of the Taliban, or when we saw the flames consume the cathedral of Notre Dame, the loss of historic places in Iran would be a loss for people all over the world.

When we destroy culture anywhere, we destroy culture everywhere. The National Trust urges the United States government to avoid targeting historically and culturally significant sites in Iran, and to uphold the protection of all irreplaceable cultural sites in times of conflict.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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