National Museum Director Assures Return of Tablets to Iran

A0205504.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Director of Iran’s National Museum Mohammad Reza Kargar stressed that the controversial clay tablets Iran had entrusted to Chicago University several decades ago will eventually return home.

Speaking to FNA, Kargar said that the case is now under legal procedures after some anti-Iran individuals strove to transfer the ownership right of the said tablets to their own benefit, arguing that they should receive the ownership right of the tablets as a compensation for the alleged losses Iran had inflicted on them.

“The court verdict which rules for the confiscation of the tablets in the interest of the claimant is viewed by the US State Secretary and US administration as principally baseless,” the official said, adding that the Islamic Republic government is currently pursuing the issue.

He also assured that the case will eventually end in favor of Iran and that the tablets will return home.

The National Museum Director also stated that two lawyers are now working on the case on behalf of the Iranian government and cultural heritage officials.

Meantime, Kargar pointed out that the chancellor of Chicago University is due to pay a visit to Iran in the near future.

Following a US Federal court ruling for the confiscation of Iran’s ancient clay tablets entrusted to Chicago University in 1945, Tehran decided to file a lawsuit against the verdict.

The invaluable pieces are relics of the magnificent Persepolis, seat of the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia, and bearing inscriptions in cuneiform, and they were to be put up for auction under the court decision in favor of the survivors of a 1997 bombing of Jerusalem.

The preliminary court ruled that the auction’s expected proceeds of US$423.5 million should be paid to Israel.

Iran and Chicago University had agreed on the returning of thousands of tablets and tablet-parts to Iran three years following the date they had been entrusted to the university.

Many of the ancient artifacts have been sent back to Iran, including 179 tablets in 1948, more than 30 thousand tablet-parts in 1951 and 300 tablets in 2004, while there still remain around 1000 more tablets in Chicago University.

The items are considered as part of Iranians’ national assets, and Chicago University admits Iran’s ownership.

Earlier the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) stressed that his country would resort to any legal means and actions to return the objects back home, saying that Tehran will hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit against the US federal court ruling.

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