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Trump’s threat to bomb Iran cultural sites draws condemnation

The art society is horrified after President Trump tweeted that he is planning to bomb 52 sites in Iran of cultural importance. 

The tweet was made on 6 Jan, as retaliation if any American or American asset in the region was harmed by the Iranian regime. But the tweet immediately drew harsh criticism, mostly from Americans. Many users pointed out that such an action wouldn’t be much different from the destruction of historical sites in Iraq and Syria by ISIS. However, the harshest criticism came from the art society. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was among the first to condemn the tweet. It’s President/CEO Daniel Weiss and Director Max Holbein issued a joint statement condemning the tweet. Another harsh critic was Thomas Campbell, who is the director of the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco and former director of MMA. He said that while directors usually stay behind the scenes, one has to speak about when the President calls for the destruction of the cultural sites of the one of the oldest civilizations. Campbell also made calls to remember the shared humanity. Tristram Hunt, director of Victoria&Albert, also condemned the statement. He said that such statements can normalize the destruction of cultural sites as a war goal.

Not just individuals, but organizations also condemned the tweet. Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), a group of 225 art museums across North America, urged Trump to not follow his threat. They reminded that the region is home to many sites of great cultural and archaeological importance. The Archaeological Insitute of America also expressed similar condemnation.

It must be noted that Iran has 22 sites identified as UNESCO World Heritage sites – not just Islamic architecture, but ancient architecture pre-dating Islam. It must also worth noting that since 1954, destruction of cultural sites is considered a war crime.