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Iranian museum welcomes collection home from abroad

The National Museum of Iran is putting over 500 objects on display from Iran’s history, all of which were repatriated from four Western countries. The return of the objects is due in part to the spirit of cooperation following the 2015 nuclear deal.

A museum in Tehran opened an unusual exhibit of ancient artifacts from ancient Persian history.

The artifacts are part of present-day Iranian’s Persian heritage, but until about two and a half years ago, they were all held by Western nations.

Iran has had tenuous relations with the West for decades and no official diplomatic relations with the US at all since 1979, when Iranian students and held American hostages trapped in the US embassy for 444 days. But the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the West has helped thaw relations in the art world, Mohammad Hassan Talebian, the deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, told the Associated Press.

 

“The atmosphere after the nuclear deal was very important,” Mr. Talebian said. “It made it easy to bring back all these objects home.”

Some of the items that came from the University of Chicago had previously been displayed in Iran, but this is the first time the collection from all four countries – England, Belgium, Italy, and the United States – has been exhibited together.

 

Some highlights of the exhibit include hunting tools and needles dating back to the Iron Age, as well as two 2,000-year-old necklaces from the Achaemenid Empire, one of the largest in history. The display also includes ancient coins and bowls that are around 3,500 years old. Many of these ancient objects, withheld for so long by Western museums, hold great meaning and value for modern Iranians, as a link to the illustrious and ancient past of the Persian Empire.

The special exhibit in the National Museum of Iran includes 558 different artifacts and is entitled “The Exhibition of the Repatriated Cultural-Historical Objects.”

But despite a thaw in US-Iranian relations over the past year, a more recent escalation in tensions following the election of President Trump in the United States may mean that any international cooperation between the two countries could be short-lived.

 

 

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