Interpol seizes cache of ancient Iranian artifacts in Europe

April 27, 2020 - 22:22

TEHRAN – Police in a European country have seized a cache of ancient Iranian relics hidden at a safety-deposit box of a bank, ILNA reported on Monday.

“According to the Interpol, one of the banks in a European country intends to renovate and open the safe-deposit boxes inside the bank (previously informed the holders of the safe-deposit boxes that the bank intended to open them). Then, the bank finds out that one of the holders keeps some antiques of gold and silver in his/her box,” said Second Brigadier General Hadi Shirzad, the head of the Iranian Police’s international department.

The senior police official, however, did not mention the name of the European country.

“Due to the importance of the issue, the objects were examined by experienced cultural heritage experts, who concluded they belong to the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid eras,” Shirzad said, adding further investigation reviled the holder of the safe-deposit locker is an Iranian national.

“After Interpol’s branch in Tehran was informed of the issue and it received inquiries from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, it became clear that the objects belong to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“Finally with the coordination of judicial authorities, a police squad was dispatched to the defendant’s residence and he was arrested.”

The senior police official noted that Iran is pursuing efforts to repatriate the ancient relics.

“In coordination with the judicial authorities and with their assistance, a lawsuit has been prepared, translated and submitted to that country. We are following the case through Interpol and diplomatic channels until the relics are back home.”

Last October, Iran managed to repatriate the fourth batch of Achaemenid-era clay tablets (1,783 pieces), which were on loan to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago since 1935.

The Achaemenid [Persian] Empire was the largest and most durable empire of its time. The empire stretched from Ethiopia, through Egypt, to Greece, to Anatolia (modern Turkey), Central Asia, and to India.

The Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures.

The Sassanid era (224 CE–651) is of very high importance in the Iranian history, under which Persian art and architecture experienced a general renaissance.


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