Cultural heritage will ease anti-Iranian sentiments: Rouhani

TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (MNA) – President Rouhani has attended the unveiling ceremony of stolen Iranian antiques transferred from Belgium at the National Museum of Iran this morning.

During the unveiling ceremony of the 349 items of Iranian heritage properties which had been illegally transferred to Belgium some 50 years ago, President Rouhani stressed the significance of the artifacts currently being kept at various museums across the country and said, “these artifacts reveal various aspects of Iran’s great civilization several thousand years ago. The more we can introduce our cultural heritage to the world, the better the public opinions will recognize Iran’s position in the past and its rightful and proper position at present.”

“Many instances of anti-Iran sentiments and accusations will be cleared away through showcasing these historic artifacts to the world,” he said.

Accompanying the President during this visit were the Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) Masoud Soltanifar, and the president’s senior advisor Hossein Fereydoun.

According to Soltanifar, The stolen artifacts comprising of 221 clay and 128 bronze antiques date back to the end of the second millennium and the first millennium BC and are some 3000 years old.

The antiques which had been discovered in Khurvin, Savojbolagh County, Alborz Province, had been gradually transferred to Belguim in 1965 by a French woman who had acquired an Iranian nationality due to her marriage to an Iranian professor.

After the Iranian government was informed of the existence of this antique collection in a Museum in Ghent, Belgium, it filed a lawsuit in the Belgian courts in 1981 and made the claims that these artifacts had been illegally transferred out of the country, belonged to the government of Iran, and as such must be returned home.

After some 30 years, the Belgian court finally ruled in favor of Iran in September 2014 and the antique collection was returned to Iran on Thursday December 25, 2014.

By Mehr News Agency

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