News ID: 177287
Published: 0620 GMT February 08, 2017

RICHT: 80% of artifacts in Arab World Museum in Paris belong to Iran

RICHT: 80% of artifacts in Arab World Museum in Paris belong to Iran

Eighty percent of the objects in the Arab World Museum in Paris belong to Iran, head of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) said.

Mohammad Beheshti added that the Iranian works which are on display in the Arab World Museum are written in Persian language and include Iranian miniatures, noting that, unfortunately, they are in an Arab museum.

RICHT quoted Beheshti as saying that sensitivity towards the issue of Iran’s ownership of historical and cultural objects at a world level is not only important in terms of material ownership, but also in terms of intellectual property.

Underlining the importance of the extradition of cultural and historical property and objects, he said: “When we speak of historical and cultural artworks, especially tangible, movable, or immovable ones, each one is valuable from various aspects.”

He pointed to the presence of a large number of Iranian works in other countries, saying that almost in all the museums of the world there are Iranian objects, and sometimes the number of these objects is amazing, for example 4,000 pieces from Persepolis are on display in various world museums.

“Possession of historical and cultural works of Iran is a source of great pride for world museums,” he said.

“We should defend our cultural-historical property and present documents and evidence as far as possible to prove our ownership.” he added.

Stressing that prior to the 1970 Convention, proving ownership of cultural and historical objects and their extradition was very difficult, said Beheshti. “The convention has somehow turned into a front that has put two groups of producers of cultural and historical works and consumers of these objects in front of each other.”

Pointing to the fact that producers of cultural and historical works such as China, Iran and Greece are countries with great histories, Beheshti said the consumers of these works are often young countries which make further efforts to weaken the 1970 Convention.

“We as the owners of these objects are duty-bound to make efforts for the preservation of our property and, fortunately, there are legal capacities available at an international level, such as the 1970 Convention, to help us.” he said.

“With the extradition of cultural and historical works we will show to the world that our legal system is sensitive towards such issues,” Beheshti said.

Tehran’s National Museum is displaying hundreds of ancient and Persian artifacts, some dating back as far as 3,500 years ago, and all of them recently brought back home from museums and collections in Western countries.

The artifices have been repatriated over the past two-and-a-half years from England, Belgium, Italy and the US.

They include hunting tools and stitching needles from the Iron Age, and a pair of necklaces dating back more than 2,000 years, to the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great – the high point of the Persian Empire.

Among the oldest items on display are dozens of clay bowls, jugs and engraved coins dating back 3,500 years and formerly housed in the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.

The items from the University of Chicago had previously been displayed separately in Tehran in May 2016, but this is the first time that all of the items repatriated from these four countries have been displayed together.


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