contents of the nine boxes were looted over the
past few years from a 3000-year-old ancient site
near Khorvin, a village situated 80 kilometers
northeast of Tehran. The items are currently being
kept at Ghent University in Belgium.
boxes contain metal items which might be oxidized,
thus Iranian officials asked their Belgian
counterparts to open the boxes in the presence of
CHTO representatives. The boxes were resealed
after the experts examined the contents.
ancient pin had been stolen in December 2002 from
the European tour of “7000 Years of Persian
Art” during its run at St. Peter's Abbey in
Ghent. Iranian officials had never announced that
the artifact was missing until now.
expo opened its European tour at the
Kunsthistorisches Museum in the Austrian capital
of Vienna in November 2000, displaying 180
masterpieces from the Iranian National Museum of
Tehran. The number of items on display was reduced
to 178 for the rest of the tour. Iranian cultural
officials never mentioned the decrease in the
number of the items before.
curator of the National Museum of Iran,
Mohammadreza Kargar, had already rejected the
requests of seven European countries to host the
exposition, which is now underway in Lisbon,
saying, “Iranian citizens must be assured that
the artifacts have been safe and sound over the
course of the four-year exhibition tour. They were
insured by the organizers, and the there was no
threat of loss or damage of the artifacts.”
CHTO has also asked Belgian officials to identify
and punish the thief or thieves. The
exposition had previously traveled to Germany,
Switzerland, Spain, and Croatia. It will return
home after the Lisbon showcase.
officials have filed several other lawsuits in
courts in Britain, France, Turkey, and Pakistan
for the return of smuggled artifacts over the past
few years. Last
month Iran filed a legal complaint in a London
court against the owner of an Achaemenid era
bas-relief, demanding its return.
artifact, along with a great collection of other
historical and ancient Iranian relics, was to be
sold at Christie’s in April, but the
London-based auction house withdrew the Iranian
artifact from the sale pending judicial
March 7, 118 artifacts which had been smuggled to
Britain from the ancient site of Jiroft were
returned to Iran. The items had been confiscated
by customs officials at London’s Heathrow
Airport last summer.