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Iran Files Lawsuits to Reclaim Stolen Artifacts from Pakistan


01 June 2005


The Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) is legally and diplomatically trying to return Iranian jewelry smuggled to Pakistan which experts assess as invaluable as those kept today in Golestan Palace, Tehran.

Two cases are now taken to Pakistan courts involving the return of a jewelry collection similar to other Imperial  Iranian ones and a mummy and its cask.

During the last 21 years, Iran has had three legal cases in Pakistan courts to return its cultural-historical heritage back home. One of the cases has been resolved and the items have been returned to the country. No final verdict has been reached for the other two cases and today the Iranian government is attempting once more to resolve the cases legally and diplomatically.

The successful case involved 34 antiquities and was closed in 1984 resulting in the handing of the pieces to the legal department of the ICHTO.

One of the other cases which is underway in a Lahore court involves some jewelry smuggled to Pakistan by an Iranian. The Pakistan customs did not identify the objects as historically or culturally valuable, but the Iranian government handed in a complaint demanding for a further analysis of the collection by Iranian experts.


According to their report, with regard to their quality, the pieces are comparable to that of the Imperial jewelry stolen from Iran’s Palaces at the time of the 1979 Revolution, and they are as invaluable as those kept today in Golestan Palace.

The third case involves the return to Iran of a cask and its mummy which were found in Koweite city of Pakistan in 2000. At the time, upon the request of the ICHTO and cooperation of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, a team of archaeologists, linguists, and legal experts traveled to Pakistan to study the find. They announced the cask fake, but however, since the pieces were created in Iran and exports of art works are illegal, Iran demanded for their return to the country and their being handed to the Iranian government.




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