February 20, 2017 0405 GMT
Registration of Norouz — the traditional Iranian festival marking the beginning of Spring — on UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List plays an important role in fostering friendship and unity among member states, said the deputy director of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization.
Mohammad-Hassan Talebian told Iran Daily that Norouz was inscribed on the UNESCO list by the 11th Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 28 to December 2.
UNESCO recognized Norouz as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on September 30, 2009, based on an initiative undertaken by Iran, India, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Turkey.
In 2014, five other countries: Iraq, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan asked to join the project which led to a review of the case and resubmission of the proposal to UNESCO.
Talebian added that although Norouz' fame is affiliated with Iran and its traditions are rooted in ancient Iran, its global registration by UNESCO with the help of several countries indicates not only its significance but will also result in the increase of cultural ties among member states.
Touching upon the ever-increasing cultural power of Norouz, he said that at present more countries namely: Mongolia, Tanzania and China are seeking to join the Norouz dossier.
Noting that the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was passed by the UNESCO General Conference in 2003, he said, it was launched to avoid destruction of subcultures.
The convention seeks to guarantee the development of societies, foster intercultural dialogues, promote peace and friendship and prevent the destruction of cultures.
Iran joined the convention in 2006 and was appointed to a workgroup to discuss cultural heritages which include Iran's culture and identity.
He also talked about the significant role of the people in supporting cultural heritage as it is part of national history and culture and thus is an inseparable part of public life.
Each historical monument has a culture as its intangible heritage. For instance, aqueduct is a historical work with a broad background.
A total of 1,400 cases of Iran intangible heritages have been compiled so far, he said, adding that of them 11 were registered on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The last one to be recorded was the case of flatbread (Lavash), he recalled.
Speaking about Iran's historical works, he said that 21 monumental works were registered on UNESCO world list.
Iran's Lut Desert and 11 aqueducts in seven Iranian provinces are the examples of Iranian monuments inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List.