Stunning photos of Iranian cultural sites that could be lost if Trump carries out his threat

On January 4, 2020, the President of the United States threatened to destroy Iranian cultural sites in a tweet.

"Iran has been nothing but problems for many years," he wrote. "Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!"


To be clear, the purposeful targeting of cultural sites is a war crime. The U.S. is party to two international agreements, the the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Convention of 1954, which specifically outlaw the intentional destruction of cultural property. In addition, our own Defense Department's Law of War Manual prohibits destroying cultural sites, and the U.S. War Crimes Act makes such acts punishable within our own justice system. It doesn't matter if someone else attacks first—a war crime is a war crime is a war crime.

Cultural sites do not belong only to the nation that houses them. Over centuries, countries and governments change hands, and being at war with a current government is not the same as being at war with a country's people or culture or history. That's why historically or religiously significant places, as well as renowned works of art and architecture, are treasures for all of humanity and should be protected as such. To destroy them in an act of aggression or retaliation is short-sighted, and a loss for us all.

RELATED: 10 interesting facts about Iran you probably won't hear on the news

Architectural historian and professor at UMass Dartmouth, Pamela Karimi, shared 36 photos of Iranian cultural sites on Facebook to show what could potentially be lost if Trump followed through on his threat. From the ancient relief carvings of Persepolis to 700-year-old gardens to intricately designed places of worship, Iran is home to some of the world's oldest and most beautiful works of the human hand.

Many of the photographs in the collection were taken by Iranian photographer Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji, and they are simply stunning. Those of us living in the West are used to seeing the icons of Western Civilization—the Parthenon, the Sistine Chapel, the Statue of David—as cultural treasures and are often ignorant to the incredible works of human creativity and ingenuity in other areas of the world. Knowing how photos rarely do justice to a place, these sites in Iran are deserving of our reverence and protection, no matter where we happened to have been born.

Just look at these wonders the photographer shared on his own page.

Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, (1888)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Persepolis, northeast of Shiraz (ca. 550–330 BCE)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Chehel Sotoun palace (literally "palace of Forty Columns"), Isfahan (1647)

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Vakil mosque, Shiraz (18th century)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae (6th century BC)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Shah mosque, Isfahan (1629)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Boroujerdiha House, Kashan (1857)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook


Eram Gardens, Shiraz (13th century)Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji Photography/Facebook

RELATED: 8 Iranian women want you to know what it really means to not wear the hijab.

Despite the president doubling down on the idea, the Pentagon has stated that striking cultural sites with no military value would indeed be a war crime, and that the U.S. military has no plans to do so. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at a news briefing, "We will follow the laws of armed conflict." According to the New York Times, when asked if that meant "no" to the question of whether cultural sites would be targeted as the president had suggested, Esper replied, "That's the laws of armed conflict."

However, the U.S. military gets its final orders from the president himself. Let's hope the commander in chief educates himself on international law, abides by our agreements, and acknowledges what a foolish and tragic mistake it would be to go after any of the world's cultural treasures.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less
via Seresto

A disturbing joint report by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that tens of thousands of pets have been harmed by Seresto flea and tick collars. Seresto was developed by Bayer and is now sold by Elanco.

Since Seresto flea collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received incident reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths linked to the product. Through June 2020, the EPA has received over 75,000 incident reports relating to the collars with over 1,000 involving human harm.

The EPA has known the collars are harming humans and their pets but failed to tell the public about the dangers.

Keep Reading Show less