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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Cyrus the Great Cylinder worryingly arrives in Tehran


10 September 2010



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 Cyrus the Great Cylinder, world's first Charter of Human Rights (Click to enlarge)


Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- For the first time after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the British Museum has returned the Cyrus the Great Cylinder to the country under tight security measures.


The cylinder was escorted by a delegation headed by the British Museum keeper of the Middle East collections Dr John Curtis to the National Museum of Iran where it will remain for four months.


"This four-month period is a great opportunity for all Iranians who are interested in seeing the cylinder," IRNA quoted head of the National Museum of Iran Azadeh Ardakani as saying.


She added that the cylinder would be put on display on Saturday during a ceremony attended by Iranian experts.


The Cyrus the Great cylinder, which is considered the world's first charter of human rights, is inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus the Great (ca. 600-529 BCE).


The cylinder was scheduled to be given to Iran on loan in September 2009. However, the British Museum refused the loan, citing Iran's post-election uprising.


Tehran had earlier threatened that it would cease cooperation with the British Museum until the cylinder is loaned to the National Museum of Iran.


Many experts are extremely worry about the safety of the this priceless historical artefact, loaned to a regime that is hostile to pre-Islamic Iran and particularly to the Cyrus the Great historical figure. 


An Iranian archaeologist told CAIS: "Iranian nation will never forget or forgive the British, if anything happens to the Cylinder; since everyone warned them about the danger of loaning this priceless treasure to the Islamic regime."


According to an independent source, the British Museum had no chose to loan the cylinder to Iran, as the British government was involved and forced BM to loan the cylinder to the Islamic Republic.

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