Minister: Efforts done to repatriate smuggled Sassanid bas-relief

Ezzatollah Zarghami, Iran’s Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts, highlighted the significant efforts undertaken by the ministry to repatriate the smuggled Sassanid bas-relief, along with others, back to the country.
The incident came to light in early April when reports emerged of a bas-relief being smuggled to the United Kingdom, which was subsequently discovered by British authorities.
Seyyed Mahdi Hosseini Matin, Iran’s chargé d’affaires in Britain, announced that the rock relief, known internationally as the ‘Sassanid Soldier’ and recognized by Iranian archaeologists, will soon be handed over to Iranian officials in London for repatriation to Tehran.
On April 2, Director General of Museums and Historical-Cultural Property Morteza Adibzadeh, disclosed that the case regarding the discovery and seizure of the historical relief at London Airport dates back to 2016. Its authenticity has been verified, and the process of returning it to Iran has been initiated. St. John Simpson, an archaeologist from the British Museum, confirmed that the smuggled statue will be delivered to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in London in May, thus facilitating its return to its rightful home.  He further remarked that only about 30 of these petroglyphs have been identified worldwide, with the majority originating from Iran’s Fars Province.
Recognizing the astonishing history and civilization of Iran, Simpson praised the close collaboration between the national museums of Iran and Britain. He expressed hope that more Iranian antiquities would be showcased in London in the future.


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