Iranian artifacts confiscated in Italy to be repatriated

May 6, 2007 - 0:0
TEHRAN -- Officials are planning to repatriate some Iranian artifacts that were smuggled to Italy, an expert of the Legal Department of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) said here on Saturday.

“We have discussed the issue with the legal officials of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and they will carry out the necessary measures,” Mehrnush Fuladi told the Tehran Times.

Last January, Italian police confiscated a number of artifacts that were being illicitly bought and sold within the country by a group of smugglers.

The police asked Rome’s National Museum of Eastern Art for help, and the museum experts determined that the artifacts were Iranian, Fuladi said.

Italian officials then informed the Iranian Embassy in Rome about the items. The embassy also received a CD with pictures of the artifacts so that Iranian experts could identify them.

“The CD was delivered to a team of experts from Iran’s General Office for Museums, and they confirmed that the historical objects are Iranian,” Fuladi explained.

Italian officials plan to repatriate the artifacts as a goodwill gesture, but the process requires a special procedure, she added.

It is unclear exactly how many artifacts the Italian authorities have seized, and a team of Iranian experts may be sent to Italy to closely scrutinize the items, Fuladi explained.