Iran: Rage Against Pre-Islamic Statues

It seems that even statues are not safe in Iran. Religious motives appear to be behind the recent theft of several bronze statues of Iranian national heroes from public places.

In the northern city Sari, authorities ordered the destruction of 16 bronze statutes depicting the Iranian mythological hero and archer Arash Kamangir on chariots and with horses.

Iranian mythological hero and archer, Arash Kamangir.

Iranian mythological hero and archer, Arash Kamangir.

The official reason was ostensibly that the horses on Imam Square could be interpreted as insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomenei.

Kamangir is said to have infused his own life into his arrow, and used it to expand the borders of Iran. The statues have decorated the public squares in Sari since 1975.

This video showing the destroyed statues was uploaded to YouTube by user  on 29 June, 2011:

Easy targets

Azarmehr writes that more statues are being targeted these days, as Iranian authorities pursue their rage against Iran's pre-Islamic history. He says:

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution however, the Islamic Republic has been hell bent on its anti-Iranian agenda. The regime fears all symbols of pre-Islamic Iran. In recent weeks, this anti-Iranian agenda has manifested itself in removing wall paintings that depicted the Epic stories of Shahnameh (Book of Kings) in Mashad, the removal of the statues of another Iranian legendary figure, Arash in Sari and now they want to remove the statue of Ariobarzanes in Yassuj.

Several bloggers such as Osyan Sabz have photographed the empty spots left behind after the statues were removed and destroyed:

Kiasar quotes Abdulhossein Mokhtabad, an artist from Sari, who says these statues belong to our people and we have to protect them.

For the Sari riders at least, it is sadly too late.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Stay up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details. Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site