We can't deny that our countries have been somewhat distant and conflicting in the latest decades. The distance has often stemmed rather from general and external conditions than from mutual attrition. However, such distance never implied direct misunderstanding.
In spite of all this, the reasons for dialogue and collaboration between two Indo-European populations with a long historical background have never failed, so that we can now look ahead together into the forthcoming geopolitical stability – one that will necessarily be found in the area – with several more reasons to work together and, hopefully, more autonomy for action.
Not by chance did Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declare on several occasions that Italy is “the gate” to Europe for the Iranian people. The previous visit to Italy of the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ata'ollah Seyed Mohajerani, recalled – if any proof was needed – that this “gate” is not a dull or void concept, but is rooted in Italy's key cultural role before the Islamic Republic of Iran. Our bond of cultural relations and conservation has never failed in the latest decades.
In fact, a memorandum of understanding for cultural and scientific exchange has been in place between Italy and Iran since 1958. A large number of research programmes have been started in the field of archaeology and cultural heritage conservation, which have not, at least partially, been affected by the adverse political events. In the complicated set of relations between our countries, these exchanges have been above all cultural, and then economical and political.
Now that several European countries are multiplying economical and even political initiatives in Iran, Italy's knowledge in the sector of cultural heritage conservation plays a key role in supporting the promotion of Italian skills in a wide scenario now experiencing fast growth.
At an early step of negotiation for possible cooperation, Assorestauro is willing to focus on two issues of major importance. The first is a topical issue for all countries, and unfortunately for Italy especially, and concerns the structural reinforcement of historic buildings, mainly aimed at seismic improvement. The second, more directly linked to restoration, is the conservation and treatment of prestigious historic finishes, which will be discussed in Isfahan next December.
We believe we will cover many principal topics in conservation and promote the widest participation of all possible stakeholders from Italy and Iran.
We expect these two encounters will be helpful to start projects and related activities next year. The more we will make joint efforts in the field of cultural heritage conservation by erecting solid foundations for scientific cooperation and business for our companies, the less the international political scenario is likely to impair direct relations between Italy and Iran.
The conservation and promotion of cultural heritage are not only aimed at preserving material monuments and their intrinsic history, but are terrific instruments to make history in the first place. Meeting the expectations of today's generations and promoting hope for the future ones means promoting an international scenario that will be more respectful of the rights and traditions of all peoples.
President of Assorestauro