0903 GMT October 22, 2019
The deputy for cultural heritage at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Mohammad-Hassan Talebian, said that efforts have been made for a long time to repatriate 1,780 clay Achaemenid inscriptions from the US, and the required licenses have been obtained from the US Department of the Treasury, IRNA reported.
The Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC) was an era when the Persian Achaemenid Dynasty, founded by Cyrus the Great, ruled a vast area in Asia and Eastern Europe.
The efforts included legal ones by Iran’s lawyers in the US to receive all the inscriptions, he said, adding that despite the obligation to return all of the items at once, due to the time-consuming process of obtaining all permissions including that of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury, it was agreed that first 1,780 items be delivered first.
He said that the process of returning the items to the National Museum of Iran, and requirements such as insurance, are the responsibility of the Chicago institute.
The Iranian official said he had recently received an email from the American institute on their preparedness to send the inscriptions to Tehran.
Upon coordination with Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Talebian said the institute was informed that visas would be issued provided that it accepts responsibility of all phases of the delivery process, from insurance to shipment.
“Now we are waiting for their official reply,” he said.
The Achaemenid inscriptions include more than 30,000 pieces which were sent to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in 1935, based on an agreement that the historical items would be returned to Iran after a three-year technical and archeological research. Some parts of the borrowed items were received over the past decades, but there still remain some inscriptions that were the subject of some lawsuits in US courts. Iranian lawyers have proved that the inscriptions are not of any commercial value, so they cannot be seized by courts.