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Documents of Iran’s Ownership of the Achaemenid Soldier Submitted to London’s Court


20 April 2005


To prove Iran’s ownership of the Achaemenid relief whose sale on Christie’s was halted by a London’s court order, a documentary film and pictures of the excavations carried out in Xerxes Palace of Persepolis in 1933 and a complete report of the archeaology team working there were submitted to the London court by the ICHTO Committee for Retrieval of Historical Artifacts.

The limestone relief which shows an Achaemenid soldier belongs to an eastern stairway of the Xerxes Palace of the Achaemenid capital of Persepolis, registered as a World Heritage Site. Christie’s auctioneer of London was to accept bids for the relief on its today sale, with an estimated price of 200,000 to 300,000 pounds, but the legal complaint by the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) urged a London court to put a halt to its presentation.

According to director of the Committee for Retrieval of Historical Artifacts, Mohammad Abdol Alipour, the documentary film, pictures, and documents of the excavations submitted to the London’s court via Internet will clarify the date of the excavations which plays an important role in the case.

The Xerxes (Apadana) palace was not discovered until 1933, and therefore the relief fragment should have been plundered out of Iran after this date; on the other hand, based on a law passed in 1930, each and every ancietn object that is unearthed in Iran is a possession of the governement. Therefore the piece certainly is an Iranian heritage that should be returned to its homeland.

“The relief enjoys structural featues that prove its being part of the eastern stairway of Apadana, and specialized studies can easily prove the date of its being detached from its original location,” explained Abdol Alipour, adding that Iran is ready to provide more documents, if asked by the London court, in the one week time that it has been provided with for the provision of necessary documents.





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