US Court Postpones Hearing on Iranian Artifacts

A0205504.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The US court due to verify the case with a large number of Iranian clay tablets entrusted to Chicago University late December postponed the session to 25 days later.

According to the General Director of the Legal Affairs Department of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Omid Qanimi, the Judge has decided to delay the court hearing because of the defects residing in the case.

A US federal court ruling recently authorized putting to auction of ancient clay tablets dating back to the Achaemenid era.

The invaluable pieces are relics of the magnificent Persepolis, seat of the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia, bearing inscriptions in cuneiform. They were smuggled to the US and are to be put up for auction under the court decision in favor of the survivors of a 1997 bombing of Jerusalem.

The auction’s expected proceeds of US$423.5 million would be paid to Israel.

Secretary of the Popular Committee for the Repatriation of Iran’s Historical and Cultural Possessions Shahryar Aminian told FNA’s social desk that his committee has sent 80 e-mails to different world museums in order to garner their support for the return of the artifacts to its owner, Iran.

Museum of London has recently voiced its support for the return of a collection of clay tablets to Iran as the owner of the artifacts, an Iranian official said.

Following the US Federal court ruling for the confiscation of Iran’s ancient clay tablets entrusted to Chicago University in 1945, Tehran decided to file a lawsuit against the verdict.

Iran and Chicago University had agreed on the returning of thousands of tablets and tablet-parts to Iran three years following the date they had been entrusted to the university.

Many of the ancient artifacts have been sent back to Iran, including 179 tablets in 1948, more than 30 thousand tablet-parts in 1951 and 300 tablets in 2004, while there still remain around 1000 more tablets in Chicago University.

The items are considered as part of Iranians’ national assets, and Chicago University admits Iran’s ownership.

Earlier the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) stressed that his country would resort to any legal means and actions to return the objects back home, saying that Tehran will hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit against the US federal court ruling.

Later, director of Iran’s National Museum Mohammad Reza Kargar stressed that the controversial clay tablets Iran had entrusted to Chicago University several decades ago will eventually return home.

Kargar told FNA that the case is now under legal procedures after some anti-Iran individuals strove to transfer the ownership right of the said tablets to their own benefit, arguing that they should receive the ownership right of the tablets as a compensation for the alleged losses Iran had inflicted on them.

“The court verdict which rules for the confiscation of the tablets in the interest of the claimant is viewed by the US State Secretary and US administration as principally baseless,” the official said, adding that the Islamic Republic government is currently pursuing the issue.

He also assured that the case will eventually end in favor of Iran and that the tablets will return home.

The National Museum Director also stated that two lawyers are now working on the case on behalf of the Iranian government and cultural heritage officials.

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