a police sweep on artifact smugglers two weeks ago in the
historical Iranian city of Isfahan, experts have recognized a
bas-relief belonging to the famed palaces of Persepolis, 3
ancient earthenware vessels and a stone statue of a lion’s
Isfahan’s local police managed to seize the smuggled artifacts
in late August in a crackdown operation on two smugglers of
historical relics who were carrying over 30 artifacts. The
defendants first claimed the contrabands belong to Kuwait’s
National Museum, which was plundered during the Persian Gulf War
in 1990-91. Iranian experts refuted their claim, however.
“Following thorough studies, we concluded all the artifacts
date back from the Achaemenid dynasty to the Safavid era, all
obtained in illegal excavations or stolen from historical
sites,” said Mohsen Javeri, an expert with Isfahan’s
Cultural Heritage Organization (CHO), insisting all the nabbed
artifacts belong to Iran.
He enlisted the seized items as “22 coins dating from the Sasanid
to Safavid eras, 3 pottery vessels, a blue stone statue of a
lion’s head and an Achaemenid bas-relief measuring 40 in 25
cm, depicting a Median soldier.”
Police had also found a painting in the haul and thought it
belonged to Picasso, but Javeri argued it is signed by someone
named Picacho over 50 years ago.
Iranian relics became normal practice by high ranking officials
and their families as well as opportunist dealers and smugglers
since 1979 Islamic Revolution.