Oct 07, 2018 18:47 Asia/Tehran

The Head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism organization of Iran, Ali Asghar Mounesan has emphasized Iran's success in returning an important and precious historic and archaeological artifact to the country, saying we have delighted the Iranian people by returning this precious artifact.

Iran news/ In an interview with Iran Press on Sunday, Ali Asghar Mounesan emphasized that in 2017, five days before a priceless archaeological artifact, a statue of an Achameanid soldier, was due to be auctioned off in New York, we found out about the auction and moved quickly to obtain as court injunction to stop the auction.

The head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism organization added: "We contacted the New York prosecutors office and got a list of relevant documents to submit to the court to get a court order to stop the auction. Although we had less than five days to act, we submitted the documents in-time, with the help of foreign ministry in Tehran and Iran's diplomatic mission in New York, and a New York Court ruled that the auction must not go ahead and ordered the confiscation of the artifact, pending a trial to establish who owned the historic statue.

After this, we supplied the court with many more documents proving Iran's ownership of the archaeological artifact and convinced the New York court that the artifact was smuggled out of Iran illegally, some 80 years ago. In 2018 a Higher US court ruled that the artifact belonged to the Islamic Republic of Iran and that the artifact had been smuggled out of the country illegally, and therefore should be returned to its legal owner -- the Iranian nation, and the Iranian government.

In further remarks Mounesan said: "Fortunately, in the recent trip by President Hassan Rouhani to New York, we manged to bring back the precious archaeological piece, the 'Achameanid soldier' back with us to Iran. As far as we know, the artifact was going to be auctioned off with a 'base price' of 1.2 million dollars, but it was expected to fetch a much higher price of at least 2 million dollars. We are very glad that we have managed to salvage this piece of our history."


Read more:

Tourism Minister, Mounesan: "Iran has huge tourism potential"

Mounesan: "Tourism can generate dozens of job opportunities in Iran"