Museum's refusal to lend Persian artefact strains UK relations with Iran
Guardian / Matthew Weaver
09-Oct-2009 (4 comments)

Britain's troubled relations with Iran have become further strained by a row about an ancient Persian artefact described as the world's first charter of human rights.

The British Museum is refusing to honour an agreement to lend the Cyrus cylinder to Iran because of the political turmoil that has gripped the country since the violently disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June.

The Iranian authorities have responded by threatening to sever links with the British Museum if it delays lending the 2,500-year-old cylinder, which was ordered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great to enshrine religious toleration.

Persian scholars claim the museum is right to be wary of lending the cylinder because of attempts by antisemitic historians in Iran to attack Cyrus's reputation as the father of the Iranian nation.

On a visit to Tehran's Museum of Iran this week, Hamid Baqaie, vice president of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation, said: "The British Museum implies the post-election political situation in Iran as its main excuse not to loan the cylinder to Iran's National Museum."

He added: "If the British Museum continues to make excuses for not loaning the artefact to the National Museum, we will, unfo... >>>

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Shifteh Ansari

I think they should keep it for now

by Shifteh Ansari on

Islamic Republic of Iran's most recent lack of regard for Persian and Iranian heritage through its efforts to destroy Pasargad, allowing continual and systematic destruction of historical sites, and attempts to erase and revise Iranian history make it a sorry excuse for a custodian of anything this important to humanity.

Governments who believe in "taghiyeh" should not be trusted.


Keep it in London!!

by Zereshk on

Why should the Cyrus cylinder be returned to Iran? To be erased from memory by the Mullahs?

How can you trust the mullahs with Iran's history when they openly have been trying to erase Iran's non-Islamic past from memory?

The only thing the current hezbollahi regime cares about is the history of Felesteen and Holocaust.

Darius Kadivar

Not Before the Restoration of the Monarchy ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

The Shah of IRan had asked for the Return of the Cylinder in 1971 for the commemorations of the 25 centuries of the Monarchy at Persepolis and Pasargardae but the British Museum refused.

But quite honestly, this cylinder is perfect where it is and that is the British Museum where it can be seen by millions of Tourists each year. And besides it does not belong just to Iran but to World Heritage.

I wouldn't mind seeing it in Iran someday be it for an exhibition but today what matters for such historical items are to be perfectly conserved by curators who care about their conservation and perpetuaty.

The Louvre has art collections from all over the world but no one considers that the items are French when they see an Egyptian or Babylonian statue or mummy.

But exchanges between museums or universities should be considered if they both honor their contract. This has not been the case for instance for the Persian Tablets lent to the Chicago University which has shamelessly decided to sell them at an auction.

That I find is immoral and not just from a political point of view but downright WRONG and an insult to all museums who work hard to preserve and respect these priceless items which are a Treasure belonging to all Humanity and not a given nationality or spoiled multi millionaire Art Collector.

My Humble Opinion,




by KouroshS on

Honor your committment!

Don't let these bastards get their hands on such an important and crucial part of iran and the world's history.