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Theft of an Ancient Urartian Inscription from Baraghaneh Mountain


26 July 2006




LONDON, (Shapour Suren-Pahlav - CAIS) -- An inscription of Urartian king Ishpuini (circa 830–810 BCE) has been removed and stolen from Baraghaneh Mountain, near Bukan in West Azarbaijan Province, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.


A team of experts from the Language and Dialect Research Center of the ICHTO studying in the region discovered that the theft of the inscription. Quite astonishingly, the director of the Cultural Heritage Guards of the province whose job is to safeguard historical sites said that he had not been informed about the incident.


“The inscription had been discovered by a team of mountain climbers in 1997, but the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization was only informed about it in 2005,” explained research center director Rasul Bashshash.


Since 1979 and the rise of Islamic regime to power in Iran, the animosity towards anything Iranian by the clerics is endangering not only Pre-Islamic, but also Islamic Iranian heritage. Historical sites have been neglected and even destructed in some cases. A countless number of ancient relics have been smuggled out of the country and sold to the lucrative international art market, to the point that in recent years many mini-museums have been established throughout the world such as In Japan and Qatar, which is filled with ancient Iranian artifacts . Although, a large portion of these relics were illegally excavated by the locals as the result of economical pressure and poverty brought upon them by the revolution, many were removed from historical monuments and museums by the ruling clerics, their families and the prominent members of the Islamic Regime.


Recently a double-bull-headed capital from Persepolis was discovered in Kerman, which was about to be taken out of the country. The theft of the Persepolitan capital and other large size relics, evidently show that such colossal and heavy items cannot be removed from the monitored sites and museums, without the top-officials' involvements. 






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