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Britain Hands Over 30 Stolen Ancient artifacts to Iran


01 January 2005



Customs officials of London’s Heathrow Airport handed over 30 ancient artifacts to the Iranian Embassy in London on Wednesday. The artifacts were being smuggled into Britain but were confiscated by customs agents.

Over 100 artifacts from the 5000-year-old Jiroft site in Iran’s Kerman Province were discovered in two packages at Heathrow Airport last summer.

British officials also handed over an ancient bowl to the Iranian Embassy in November. The bowl had been presented for auction at Sotheby’s in London.

In addition, an official of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) announced in early December that Turkey planned to return some Seljuk era artifacts to Iran which had been smuggled into the country over the past few years, in line with the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

The UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) is the first agreement of its kind, which has been accepted worldwide. It seeks to protect cultural property against theft, illicit export, and wrongful alienation.

Iran has also taken major steps in recent years to fulfill its obligations as a signatory to the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

Last year, Iran delivered about 200 artifacts from Afghanistan to President Hamid Karzai at Niavaran Palace in Tehran. The artifacts had been smuggled into Iran during the wars in Afghanistan.




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