Two evaluators from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, affiliated with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will assess Iran’s Lut Desert in the coming days to approve its nomination for inscription on UNESCO’s coveted World Heritage List.
The assessors, one from New Zealand and the other Tunisian, are scheduled to arrive in Iran today, ILNA reported.
Despite boasting several historical and cultural world heritage sites, Iran has no UNESCO-listed natural heritage site.
“That makes the inscription of Lut Desert as a natural site all the more important,” said Mohammad Hassan Talebian, cultural heritage deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.
“It will pave the way for us to nominate other natural sites for UNESCO-listed status.”
Talebian noted that the authorities are eager to nominate the mountainous region of Arasbaran in East Azarbaijan Province in the near future.
Iranian officials expect Lut Desert’s case to be reviewed during the 40th session of World Heritage Committee, scheduled for July 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The desert spans three provinces, namely Kerman, Sistan-Baluchestan and South Khorasan. It also boasts the world’s tallest sand-dune.
A defining feature of Lut is its yardangs, which are wind-molded landforms that develop in the world’s dry lands. Massive yardangs, aptly called “mega-yardangs”, are easily identified on satellite images—which is the case for those found in Lut Desert.
The 25th largest desert in the world, Lut is also one of the hottest spots on Earth and recorded the highest temperature ever measured on the planet in 2005: 70.7 degrees Celsius.
The 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, which was held in July, concluded with the inscription of the historical city of Susa in Khuzestan Province and the ancient Meymand Village in Kerman Province. That increased the number of Iran’s world heritage sites to 19.