In the wake of rising tensions between US and Iran, UNESCO received Ambassador of the Islamic Republic, Ahmad Jalali on January 6 to discuss the protection of heritage and culture. The director-general of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Audrey Azoulay recalled the provisions made under the conventions of 1954 and 1972 ratified by both US and Iran and said that they 'should be observed' as both countries have a 'duty to protect' cultural heritage.
These conventions ask the signatories to refrain from any actions that might damage the cultural as well as natural heritage. However, on January 5, US President Donald Trump had responded to threats by Iran by saying, Washington has targetted 52 sites in Tehran. In the recent meeting, Azoulay also recalled the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2347 which condemns the acts of destruction of cultural heritage.
According to the official website, 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, on the other hand, has shrugged the threats from Iran and said that 'The US wants no more threats' and that Iran 'will be hit very hard'. Trump had previously said in his first comments after the strike that Soleimani was directly or indirectly responsible for many deaths and he had made 'death of innocent people his sick passion'. However, on the contrary, grief and anger has mounted on Iraqis who called Soleimani as 'martyred' and chanted 'Death to America'.
....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the US must wait for 'repercussions' for crossing the 'red line.' The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, the officials said. On January 3, Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei declared three days of mourning for Soleimani and threatened the US saying 'a harsh retaliation is waiting'. In strong condemnation, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the act orchestrated by Trump, as 'international terrorism' and 'foolish escalation.'
Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 6, 2020
Never threaten the Iranian nation.
(with inputs from agencies)