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Iran Demands Belgium to Return its Smuggled Heritage

Tehran, May 22 (CHN) - Iran has sent an appeal to a Belgian court to return nine boxes of ancient artifacts smuggled to Belgium and a bronze pin stolen from the exhibition of 7000 years of Persian Art in Belgium.

The Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) has filed several legal cases to return the Iranian smuggled artifacts from France, England, Turkey, Pakistan, and Belgium.

One of the legal cases filed in Belgium considers the return of nine boxes of artifacts unearthed during illegal excavations of Tehran province and smuggled out of the country to Brussels. Following Iran's demand, the Brussels court ordered for the distraint of the pieces and their keeping in the Museum of Brussels University until the final verdict is reached.

Since the smuggled items are of metal and there was fear of their corrosion, Iran asked for the opening of the boxes and their examination. With the approval of the Belgian government, the boxes and their contents were studied and plumbed in attendance of a team of representatives from the ICHTO and the Belgian side.

The second legal case filed in Belgian courts involves the stealing of a bronze pin dating to 28 centuries ago from the 7000 years of Persian Art touring Europe held in Saint Peters Museum of Gand, Belgium, in 2003, the identification of the thieves, their punishment and the return of the treasure to its homeland.

... Payvand News - 5/23/05 ... --

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