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Stolen Artifacts Confiscated in London to Be Returned to Iran


08 January 2005



Legal and parliamentary deputy head of Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Taha Hashemi said in Tehran on Friday that the historical objects confiscated at London Heathrow airport will be delivered to ICHTO by Iran's Customs Administration on Saturday.

According to Taha Hashemi, the artifacts in question were submitted to Iran's Customs Administration by the British government on Wednesday.

Hashemi noted that the 4,000-year-old artifacts will be transferred to Iran's National Museum, where they will be showcased in the near future.

"The delivery of the ancient objects belonging to Iran took place within the framework of Nairobi Customs Convention which was ratified by Majlis in 1994. Both Iran and Britain are members of the convention.

"According to Article 11 of the convention, upon coming across historical objects belonging to the member countries, every member of Nairobi Customs Convention should return them to their country of origin," he added.

He noted that last summer, the British customs clerks based at London international Heathrow airport confiscated 100 pieces of artifacts originating from Jiroft area which had been smuggled into Britain through the Persian Gulf countries.

"Thirty of the artifacts had been smuggled to Kuwait from where they had been dispatched to Britain. Fortunately, the British customs clerks managed to identify and confiscate them," he added.

On the illegal excavations and smuggling of archaic objects out of the country, Hashemi said that to prevent selling the Iranian historical objects at the international auctions ICHTO has published some directory booklets.

"The booklet containing the features of the artifacts unearthed at Jiroft area and their picture have been very effective in identifying the related objects at Heathrow customs office.

"After ICHTO was informed about confiscation of the artifacts, another booklet with more details was published and dispatched to the experts of London British Museum to help them identify such artifacts in future," he added.

The official said that the historical objects have been returned to Iran through the efforts of ICHTO and close cooperation of the related organizations in both countries after documents were made available.



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