25 years have elapsed since Iran initiated legal actions
seeking the return of fossils borrowed by US Museum of
Natural History from Iran for conducting research studies.
The Persian daily Hamshahri reported that Iran put forward its case
to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the US Museum of
Natural History and the Los Angeles-based County Museum for the
return of Maragheh fossils which they were borrowed from Iran for
research studies. Iranian Museum of Natural History has also sought
reparation for the delay in handing over the fossils to Iran.
The two American museums borrowed Maragheh fossils from Iranian
Museum of Natural History for research studies and have delayed
handing them back to Iran.
Iran has also sought reparations for the delay in returning 2,500
species of Maragheh fossils.
Director general of Iranian Museum of Natural History Asghar
Mohammadi Fazel said that Maragheh fossils are the best for research
studies and the delay in returning them has inflicted irreparable
losses on Iran. The United States has also declined to share its
research findings with Iran.
—The delay in handing over of the fossils has caused heavy damages
to Iran, because in the past 26 years, we have lost all the raw
materials needed for research studies, he said.
He said that the ICJ has ruled that the US should return the fossils
and that the US museums have handed over part of the fossils, but,
Iran is also seeking the outcome of the research studies conducted
on the fossils in the past 25 years.
Mohammadi Fazel said that it is surprising that the US museum has
sought compensation for keeping the fossils for the so long without
obtaining permission from Iran.