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British Museum cancels Iranian artefact loan

Further coverage of the tension between Iran & the British Museum [1] over the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder.

From:
Press TV (Iran) [2]

British Museum cancels artifact loan to Iran
Sat, 10 Oct 2009 16:22:59 GMT

The British Museum is refusing to loan the Achaemenid Cyrus cylinder to Iran, citing the country’s post-election political state, a report says.

A deal to loan the ancient clay cylinder in return for a number of Iranian treasures dating back to the time Safavid King Shah Abbas was reached between the Iranians and the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor.

However, the British are refusing to lend the artifact.

“When lending any material you have to check that is an appropriate moment,” The Guardian quoted head of the British Museum press and public relations Hannah Boulton as saying. “We are committed to lending the Cyrus cylinder to Iran.”

“We hope to be able to honor that commitment, we can’t say when that will be. At the moment, we are monitoring the situation in Iran.”

Her remarks came after earlier in the week, Iranian officials warned to cease cooperation with the British Museum if it ignores the deal.

“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,” the official in charge of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Hamid Baqaei said earlier in the week.

“If the British Museum continues to make excuses for not loaning the artifact to the National Museum, we will, unfortunately, cease any cooperation with them, including archaeological expeditions and research,” he added.

Boulton believes that Baqaie’s remarks had not been made directly at the British Museum. “We have very strong relationships with colleagues in Iran and we hope that these will long continue.”

Described as the world’s first charter of human rights, Cyrus the Great’s cylinder bears a declaration issued by the Persian king Cyrus II in Babylonian cuneiform.

The cylinder was discovered in 1879 by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in Esagila (the Murdak temple of Babylon).

From:
Press TV [3]

Iran gives UK 2 months’ grace over artifact
Mon, 12 Oct 2009 01:32:19 GMT

Iran has warned to cease scientific and cultural cooperation with Britain if the UK fails to loan the Achaemenid Cyrus cylinder to Iran in two months’ time.

The remark was made by the Deputy Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), Hamid Baqaie, in an interview with the Fars news agency on Sunday.

“According to a deal between Iran’s National Museum and the British Museum, the ancient clay cylinder was scheduled to be lent to Iran in September but the director of the British Museum [Neil MacGregor] refused to do so, citing Iran’s post-election political state,” Baqaie said.

“This is just an excuse and they want to postpone meeting their commitment,” he went on to say.

“If they fail to loan the Cyrus cylinder to Iran in two months, we will cease all our joint archeological cooperation and cultural heritage exhibitions … in Britain,” he further explained.

Described as the world’s first charter of human rights, Cyrus the Great’s cylinder bears a declaration issued by the Persian King Cyrus II in Babylonian cuneiform.

The cylinder was discovered in 1879 by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in Esagila (the Murdak temple of Babylon).