Iran's Most Protected

Craig Ames


This pack of training/playing cards has been created to warn against the illegal destruction of cultural properties in Iran. Based on the infamous ‘Iraqi Most Wanted Playing Cards’ (commissioned by US military command in 2003), this contemporary version transforms the original concept by creating a compact dossier and aide-memoire for the purpose of recognising and protecting cultural sites in Iran. Many of the sites featured in the deck are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and all of them are protected under the 'Hague Cultural Properties Convention of 1954', as well as 'Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949'. In this context, the collection can also be viewed as a celebration of Iranian culture in the face of adversity.

The cards were created in January 2020, in response to President Trump’s threat that the US had targeted 52 Iranian sites, including ‘some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture’ that would ‘be hit very fast and very hard’. Given Trump’s propensity to actively defy conventions - even when checked - a deck of these training/playing cards was sent to the US Commander-in-Chief. Should tensions between the two countries escalate, it is hoped they might serve to remind him not to illegally target and destroy internationally protected sites of historic and cultural significance.


52x standard-sized playing cards + 4x info cards + tuck box

All images sourced from Wiki Commons

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  • Iran's Most Protected Cards and Box

  • Emblem of Protection Info Card

  • Protection of Cultural Properties info Card

  • Back of cards

  • Letter to Donald Trump