Iran displays ancient Persian artifacts returned from the US
Iran displays hundreds of ancient and Persian artefacts, some of which are up to 3,500 years old, all of which have recently come from museums and collections in Western countries.
Mohammad Hassan Talebian, deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, told The Associated Press that all of the items on display were repatriated over the past two and a half years from England, Belgium, Italy and the United States.
He credits the improved relations between Tehran and the West after the 2015 border crossing to enable the process.
“The atmosphere after the nuclear deal was very important,” said Talebian. “It made it easy to bring all these items back home.”
The special exhibition opened on Monday in the National Museum of Tehran shows 558 different artifacts.
These include hunting tools and stitching needles from the Iron Age and a pair of necklaces dating back more than 2000 years to the Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great – the culmination of Persian rule.
Among the oldest items are dozens of clay bowls, jugs and engravings dating back to 3,500 years, formerly housed in the famous Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Iran and the United States had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when Iranian students stormed the American Embassy and took 52 Americans for 444 days.
The 2015 agreement between Teheran and the world powers limited the Iranian Atoprogram against the abolition of international economic activities.
However, the short thaw in Iranian-American relations can be short-lived. The new US President Donald Trump has strongly criticized the agreement and has already engaged in a war with words with the leadership of Iran, and “Tehran” has been “attentive” to a recent ballistic rocket test.
The items from the University of Chicago had previously been shown on their own in May 2016, but this is a first time that all the elements repatriated by these four countries have been shown together.
Myriam Rahgoshay, an art enthusiast, said that the return of these and thousands of other historical artefacts still abroad is a major impetus to the Iranian national identity.