The Cyrus Cylinder of ancient Persia is seen at the Smithsonian Institutions Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington March 7, 2013.

Iran Calls For Halt To Relocation Of Ancient Babylonian Artifact To Israel

Wednesday, 01/31/2024

Iranian authorities have issued a plea to halt the planned transfer of a 6th century Babylonian artifact from the British Museum to Jerusalem citing safety concerns amidst the war.

The artifact in question is a fragment of a 2,600-year-old object from ancient Babylonian territory, now situated in modern-day Iraq, adorned with inscriptions in cuneiform on its clay surface. It serves as a primary historical document depicting the establishment of Persian rule and records the edict of Persian King Cyrus, granting freedom to slaves to return to their native lands.

Expressing apprehension about the proposed relocation to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, Hadi Mirzaei, Iran’s director-general of the General Office of Museums, conveyed his concerns in letters addressed to key officials including Amir-Hossein Gharibnejad, the vice president for cultural cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ali-Akbar Mottakan, the secretary-general of the National Commission for UNESCO-Iran, as reported by the Tehran Times in mid-January.

In a letter published via the Iranian news agency Mehr, Mirzaei emphasized the potential risks associated with the impending transfer, deeming it "inappropriate", the regime desperate the artifact does not end up in the hands of its archenemy, Israel.

Iran, celebrated for its ancient cultural heritage spanning millennia, has encountered numerous hurdles in safeguarding and conserving its artifacts.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Iranian government has shifted its focus to promoting Islamic culture and values, sometimes adopting a more conservative approach towards pre-Islamic relics.

Numerous historical sites and artifacts have suffered from neglect, inadequate maintenance, and the impact of environmental factors.

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