Monday, April 23, 2007

Dam it Iran opens dam that archaeologists say could harm ancient sites, famed Persepolis
Iran on Thursday began filling a dam despite warnings from archaeologists that its reservoir will flood newly discovered antiquities and could damage Iran's grandest site, the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis.

At the inauguration ceremony, attended by Energy Ministry officials, pipes were opened for water to start flowing into an artificial lake created by the dam spanning the Sivand River, 840 kilometers (520 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. The lake waters will be used for irrigation for the area's farmlands.

Iranian state-run television said Thursday that the dam was opened "on the order of the President" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although the hardline Iranian leader did not attend the inauguration.

The launch was delayed for months to give time for excavations by international archeological teams in the area of the reservoir after an appeal for help from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.