Cyrus Cylinder show extension not confirmed

January 8, 2011

TEHRAN -- The National Museum of Iran (NMI) curator said on Wednesday that so far, the report on the extension of the showcase for the Cyrus Cylinder in Tehran has not been officially approved.

Bloomberg and several other foreign websites published a report on Wednesday announcing that the British Museum has agreed to extend its loan of the artifact for three more months in response to a request by Iranian authorities.
“We do not acknowledge Bloomberg’s announcement as official,” NMI curator Azadeh Ardakani told the Persian service of the ISNA.
John Curtis, curator of BM Department of the Middle East, said in a telephone call that he was unaware of the issue, she added.
The artifact was loaned by the British Museum on September 10, 2010 to the National Museum of Iran for a four-month show that ends on January 10.
A number of Iranian cultural NGOs have also sent a letter to the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, asking the organization to try its best to persuade the British Museum to extend the showcase.
The clay cylinder was discovered in 1879 by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuz Rassam in the foundations of the Esagila, the main temple of Babylon. It was transferred to the British Museum in London.
Considered the world’s first declaration of human rights, the Cyrus Cylinder is a document issued by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great.
It goes on to describe how Cyrus had improved the lives of the citizens of Babylonia, repatriated displaced peoples and restored temples and cult sanctuaries following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC.
Photo: National Museum of Iran curator Azadeh Ardakani places the Cyrus Cylinder in a showcase during the unveiling ceremony of the artifact at the museum on September 11, 2010. Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Director Hamidreza Baqaii (1st from right) and an unidentified British Museum official (C) are also seen in the photo. (Mehr/Azadeh Abdollahnejad)