Iran: Embassy in Manila calls for return of artifacts in USA
Iranian officials in the Philippines in a statement accused the US of cultural theft over artifacts ordered sold at auction by a Federal Judge.
Issued by the Islamic republics embassy in the Philippines the statement Saturday is condemning the move by US federal court ordering the auction of a collection of Persian artifacts.
The statement reads as follows in part:
… “ An American district judge has recently issued a verdict on seizure of more than 30,000 clay tablets, which belong to the Iranian nation. These ancient tablets were obtained during excavations in Persepolis in 1935 and date back to the Achaemenid era and according to an agreement were sent to the University of Chicago Oriental Institute for studying and reading their inscriptions. The tablets were transferred to the US Institute as part of the cultural heritage of Iranian people and were due to be returned to Iran upon completion of relevant studies and research. However, despite such agreement, the University of Chicago kept the tablets on various grounds and pretexts and the administration of the university has so far refrained from returning the historical artifacts to their original owners. Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization in an official letter last year called for the return of this historical collection. But the University has not responded so far. Based on reports released within recent days, a US district court in violation of international norms and regulations issued a verdict on seizure and auctioning of the priceless collection of Persian treasure which were sent 73 years ago to the said university.” … 
Now heres the weird part – “The expected cash gains from the auction will be paid to Israelis.” The Iranian news agency called the actions “unjust and politically-motivated” contradicting “international laws and regulations” and wow- would “ endanger security of world…” Ok not that kind of security but rather The “ cultural exchange at scientific centers across the globe.”
To the Embassy here in Manila “These tablets are Iran’s national assets and no body in the world can make any decision on such national assets. They belong to the Iranian nation and are among their cultural heritage.” Perhaps rightly so – but am still trying to figure out why this is being issued by the Embassy in Manila and not at the UN or through other channels… anyhow- they are entitled to their opinion….
“ UNESCO regulations and conventions approved on the issue of cultural heritage, states are banned from capturing, seizing and even transferring cultural heritage during wartime or a country’s occupation.” Ok but when was that convention issued and when was the war in question – if it was 73 years ago…. WW1? “ A convention on adoption of necessary strategies to ban and prevent import and illegal possession of cultural assets, which Iran also joined in 1974, reiterates that each state is aware of moral necessities concerning respect for cultural heritage of its own and that belonging to other countries.”
I am sure the Iranian government can find and afford a lawyer or lawyers or even several firms to follow through on this… but the nagging question is why is the statement being issued by Manila’s Iranian Embassy..,, “ The matter of importance in this case is UNESCO’s approach to the issue, which can salvage part of the cultural and historical heritage of Iran and the world. This will serve as an efficient document to UNESCO’s sense of duty. “ Perhaps as the Iranians know the second in command of UNESCO is a Filipino – and much of its cultural heritage offices are filled with scholars from here.
Now perhaps they are farming out foreign ministry statements throughout the world but it still strikes me as a little strange anyhow indeed if artifacts have been taken by all means fight for your heritage… now… about that Nuclear enrichment program?
“ The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in the Republic of the Philippines deplores this clear violation of the international laws and disrespect for international norms. The Embassy further expects the world elites, the international community, the United Nations and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to fulfill their undertakings with regard to protecting the common heritage of mankind, the great Iranian nation in particular.”
It nice to know they value cultural heritage and international organizations and the UN as mitigation entity – but- hey guys… ever hear of the IAEA? Any statements on nuclear enrichment? All I see here is an issue albeit a valid one from a historians standpoint but still perhaps still another ploy to change focus from issues Iran needs to consider seriously on its ‘Nuclear program’ then perhaps the world will be ready to listen to them on other issues… just a thought.
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