Iran's neglect of its backfires
Modern Iran, known as Persia until 1935, is the inheritor of a revered civilization, which according to some accounts is at least 7,000 years old. There is consensus among scholars that Iran boasts one of the most esteemed historical lineages of any modern state.
The first Persian Empire was founded by the Achaemenid dynasty in 550 BC, and at its greatest extent under King Darius I, its territory stretched from the Aegean Sea and Libya to the Indus Valley.
Iranians are credited with making seminal contributions to the sciences, culture and arts, contributions that are deplorably eclipsed by the plethora of unfavorable media coverage of Iran's tumultuous politics and its poor relations with the West.
History aficionados are aware that ancient Iran was the birthplace of algebra, the first universal declaration of human rights, namely the Cyrus Cylinder, the first monotheistic religion of the world, namely Zoroastrianism, and the first watermanagement system used in irrigation, locally known as qanat. Even some artifacts that are taken for granted to be Western creations such as the guitar and postal service are documented to have Iranian roots.
That said, contemporary Iranians have not earned a pass mark in safeguarding this time-hallowed legacy, and some even have chipped away at it. In the years that followed the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the outpouring of religious zeal and fanaticism set the stage for a crackdown on the representations of Iranian civilization, including arts, literature, language, festivals and celebratory occasions.
The authorities set about branding patriotism un-Islamic and wounds were inflicted on the national culture through eliminating historical occasions from the calendar, modifying the curriculum of the schools and universities to stamp out ancient poetry and literature from textbooks, destroying monuments of patriotic literati and scholars across cities and even, in some cases, burning old books and libraries.
In tandem with whittling away the epitomes of Iranian culture and history, colossal investment was made on religious initiatives, and hundreds of religious institutions,