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London court rules in Iran's favor on historical artifacts

London, Dec 22, IRNA - A London Appeal Court ruled on Friday in Iran's favor on the case of 18 historical artifacts smuggled to Britain from Jiroft historical site in southeastern Iran.

Nine months ago, an initial court had issued a verdict for putting the items of the ancient artifacts in auction.

The verdict had aroused the concern of Iran's cultural heritage experts who decided to take action against the verdict through making a complaint to the rehearing court.

The verdict has also violated UNESCO's 1970 convention indicating prevention of the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural properties, which UK has also ratified.

The whole story started when cultural heritage authorities found out that Jifort's stolen relics were being auctioned by Barakat Gallery in London, they immediately took action and asked the London Court to stop the selling of these invaluable relics. The court ordered the gallery to stop selling them and asked it to come to an agreement with Iran about them.

However, although the gallery took these artifacts out of its auction, it refused to give them back to Iran despite Iran' s proposal to give 150,000 British pounds as compensation.

The historical items included two jugs, five cups, six vases, one bowl, one dish and three weights which are being kept in London's Barakat Gallery. The gallery has collected a large number of Jiroft's historical relics.

The ancient artifacts had been plundered from Halil Rud historical site near the city of Jiroft in the Iranian province of Kerman. The smugglers then illegally crossed the borders of the country with the valuable objects, considered part of the Persian heritage, and sold them abroad.

Halil Rud historical site was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. A large number of stone, clay, and architectural remains from the third millennium BC were discovered during archaeological excavations in the site.

The ruling of London's Appeal Court has mollified the initial court's decision.

... Payvand News - 12/22/07 ... --

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