Iran urges UNESCO to reject Azerbaijan’s claim on ancient Polo game

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Vice-President and Head of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) Mohammad Ali Najafi in a letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization asked the world body to reject Azerbaijan’s claim about the ancient Iranian game, polo.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly requests for the rejection and return of the dossier that Azerbaijan has sent to the UNESCO back to that country …,” Najafi said.

The CHTHO chief underlined that instead of registering a single country as the origin of a cultural heritage, other countries where the traditional forms of this ancient game originated should work for the registration of a multinational document at the UNESCO.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been after the promotion of peace and stability with its neighbors and the successful experience gained in 2009 by registering Norouz (at the UNESCO) during the course of which Iran and Azerbaijan, as well as five other countries had close cooperation for the first multinational registration at UNESCO is a clear example in this field,” Najafi said.

Last week, Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization in a letter to the UNESCO protested at a recent attempt by Azerbaijan’s Polo Federation to register the ancient Iranian sport game under its name.

Azerbaijan’s Polo Federation has recently been attempting to register the ancient Iran game as a sport which has originated in Azerbaijan.

“In a letter to UNESCO we declared our opposition to Azerbaijan’s move,” Head of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization Mehdi Hojjat said.

He underlined that Azerbaijan has only a polo association and Iran has a polo federation.

Hojjat said that the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization will have a tight and continued follow-up on the case.

The Iranian sports ministry is also trying to prevent polo game from being registered under the name of Azerbaijan.

Last week, Iranian officials from the foreign and sport ministries as well as the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization discussed the Azeri move.

Secretary of the Iranian Polo Federation Hojatollah Dehkhodan had also expressed his concern in this regard, warning that “another cultural heritage of Iran will be registered in the name of another country if the Iranian officials do not take necessary action”.

In the same regard, Chairman of the Iranian Polo Federation Hamzeh Elhanizadeh also said that Azerbaijan’s recent attempt to appropriate the name of Iranian poet Nezami Gyanjavi, Baku is now trying to do the same with the ancient Iranian sport game of polo and has already applied to UNESCO and the World Polo Federation.

“If Iran doesn’t undertake steps to present Polo as Iranian national sport-game then Azerbaijan will ascribe it to itself soon,” Elhanizadeh said.

Polo is a game in which two teams of players riding on horses try to hit a ball into a goal using long wooden hammers.

By Fars News Agency

 

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