Tehran, Athens discuss ways to cooperate in cultural heritage repatriation

August 3, 2020 - 23:26

TEHRAN – Iranian and Greek officials have discussed ways to share experience in cultural heritage repatriation as the two cradles of ancient civilizations are subjected to smuggling of historical relics.

Iranian deputy tourism minister Mohammad-Hassan Talebian, and Greek Ambassador to Tehran Dimitri Alexandrakis met on Monday discussing ways to deepen cultural cooperation, ILNA reported.

The exchange of experiences in the field of restitution of cultural and historical property and the organization of a joint seminar on Persepolis and Acropolis were amongst topics conferred upon in the meeting.

“Iran is one of the most successful countries in recovering smuggled relics as it has repatriated more than 3400 historical and cultural objects, especially since 2014…. Iran’s measures have made the global market insecure for the [trade of] smuggled relics and sales of cultural and historical properties,” Talebian said.

The Iranian official explained measures taken by his country in returning the trafficked cultural and historical properties of countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and some other neighboring countries, adding “Considering that Iran, like Greece, has faced looting, theft, and smuggling of its historical properties during the last two centuries. We hope to be able to return the stolen treasures by cooperating and adopting appropriate solutions.”

Alexandrakis, for his part, emphasized that the arenas of cultural heritage, tourism, and handicrafts in today's challenging world are important tools for promoting and consolidating peace between communities and nations.

The envoy also expressed his country's interest in using Iran's experience and cooperating in the repatriation of cultural and historical properties.

The officials also exchanged views on holding a joint seminar on Persepolis and Acropolis with the aim of addressing the shared pieces of history and to spur cultural ties in the future.

Last October, a total of 1,783 Achaemenid-era clay tablets, which were the fourth batch such relics on loan from Iran to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago since 1935, were returned home. The artifacts were recuperated with a great deal of efforts made by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, and the presidential office for legal affairs. In February 2018, and following years of ups and downs, the fate of those ancient Persian artifacts, was left in the hands of a U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Iran.


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