Stolen Iranian antiques returned from Belgium

TEHRAN, Dec. 27 (MNA) – A collection of over 300 artifacts discovered in Khurvin having been kept in Belgium for 50 years has finally been returned to Iran.

349 items of Iranian heritage properties which had been illegally transferred to Belgium some 50 years ago were finally handed to Iran by the Belgian court ruling after 33 years.

The stolen artifacts comprising of 221 clay and 128 bronze antiques date back to the end of the second millennium and the first millennium BC and are some 3000 years old. They will be soon unveiled for the public at the National Museum of Iran.

The antiques which had been discovered in Khurvin, Savojbolagh County, Alborz Province, had been gradually transferred to Belguim in 1965 by a French woman who had acquired an Iranian nationality due to her marriage to an Iranian professor.

After the Iranian government was informed of the existence of this antique collection in a Museum in Ghent, Belgium, it filed a lawsuit in the Belgian courts in 1981 and made the claims that these artifacts had been illegally transferred out of the country, belonged to the government of Iran, and as such must be returned home.

After some 30 years, the Belgian court finally ruled in favor of Iran in September 2014 and the antique collection was returned to Iran on Thursday Dec. 24.

The head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) Masoud Soltanifar, while confirming the transfer of the antiques to the National Museum of Iran, maintained that Iran is adamantly following up on another similar case related to some 7,000 Achaemenid tablets which are presently being kept in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

According to the former head of ICHTO Mohammad Ali Najafi, the clay tablets had been loaned to Chicago’s Oriental Institute for Studies and Translation during the rule of the former regime of Shah, but they have not been returned to Iran yet.

Other than the case on Achaemenid tablets, Iran is following up on another one related to artifacts discovered in Choghamish in Dezful County, Khuzestan Province, which according to Soltanifar is in its final stages.

 

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MNA
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News Code 105220

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