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Iran to obtain its cultural heritage from US: government spokesman

Tehran, July 3, IRNA-The Iranian government and nation would obtain their cultural heritage from the United States, government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said here Monday.

Elham made the remark while speaking to domestic and foreign reporters at his weekly press conference in reaction to an illegal measure by the US federal court which issued a verdict on seizure of Iran's cultural heritage by the US administration.

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

Expected proceeds of 423.5 million dollars from the auction would be paid to Israel.

"These tablets and historical assets of Iran were given and kept in trust at the University of Chicago. They belong to the Iranian nation and are among cultural heritage of the country.

"The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and all Iranians inside and outside the country will not permit the US to seize cultural heritage of the country contrary to international laws, the UNESCO regulations and international conventions," Elham said.

"According to UNESCO regulations and conventions approved on the issue of cultural heritage, states are banned to capture, seize and even transfer cultural heritage during wartime or a country's occupation.

"A convention on adoption of necessary strategies to ban and prevent import and illegal possession of cultural assets, which Iran also joined in 1974, reiterates that each state is aware of moral necessities concerning respect for cultural heritage of its own and that belonging to other countries," he added.

The spokesman said, "The convention stresses that import and illegal possession of cultural assets prevent understanding between peoples."

He said the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is duty-bound to urge countries to implement the convention, adding, "It is an international obligation and all countries should be committed to it."

He expressed his confidence that Iran's cultural heritage would be retaken from the US, which is not committed to regulations, through legal measures to be taken by the government and efforts by all Iranians abroad.

Elham said the University of Chicago also took measures with respect to the verdict of the US federal court and hoped the court would revise its illegal verdict which sparked protest of the university.

"The US federal court should be at least committed to its domestic and international regulations and not be at the service of the Zionists.

"Parts of this cultural heritage have been returned to Iran two years ago."

Iran's Prosecutor General Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi also on Sunday condemned the US federal court decision that authorizes auctioning of ancient mud tablets dating back to the Achaemenid era, saying the decision is dreadful and against international norms and regulations.

... Payvand News - 7/3/06 ... --

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