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Petition to the President: Persepolis Fortification Archive


18 January 2009



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LONDON, (CAIS) -- Members of the Societas Iranologica Europea request that colleagues read and consider signing the following petition:

To the President of the United States of America

Mr President,

It has been reported by the Press and confirmed by authoritative scholarly sources that an important part of the Elamite clay tablets forming the archive of the Achaemenid center of Persepolis, found during excavations at Persepolis (Iran) and presently on loan to the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, are currently involved in a lawsuit in the US courts, and face the threat of confiscation and sale in order to compensate a legal case brought by private persons against the Government of Iran.

Without entering the matter of the legal case, we the undersigned archaeologists from different countries of Europe, Oceania and America, remark that the Elamite tablets, being cultural property, should not be considered as a common property, whose financial value can be exploited for the purpose of legal compensation.
The antiquities belong to the cultural heritage of Iran on behalf of human kind and should therefore remain in public hands.

We therefore, well aware of the separation of powers, nevertheless apply to you in order that this unconscionable decision with irreversible consequences should be avoided.

A country such as the United States should not be complicit in the sale of the world’s cultural heritage.


Sign the petition



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