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Iran asks for extension to Cyrus Cylinder loan

Following the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran [1], requests have been made to extend the loan to allow the artefact to be on display for longer.

CAIS [2]

Islamic Republic asked Britain to keep Cyrus the Great Cylinder for a longer period; Iranian cultural figures called it a bad idea

LONDON, (CAIS) — CAIS was informed that the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has requested an extension of loan of the Cyrus the Great Cylinder. The Cyrus Cylinder was loaned to the National Museum of Iran in early September for a period of four months.

The extension of the loaning this priceless artefact is a matter of great concern, particularly when the Islamic Republic’s National Security and Foreign Policy Council voted in favour of completely cutting ties with the United Kingdom on Saturday.

CAIS contacted the British Museum with regard to the above concern and the rumour that is currently circulating in Iran that the British Museum loaned a replica of the Cyrus Cylinder. The following is the British Museum’s response, the contents of which are self-explanatory:

The request for an extension of the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder is currently being considered by the Trustees of the British Museum, but no agreement has yet been reached.

This is a statement from the British Museum regarding the authenticity of the loan:

The exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder opened at the National Museum in Tehran on 12th September 2010. It has proved to be very popular, and 77,366 visitors saw the exhibition between 12th September and 22nd October.

In view of the great success of the exhibition, it is very much to be regretted that reports have been circulating on the internet that it is a copy of the Cyrus Cylinder that has been sent to Tehran. The Trustees of the British Museum would like to deny this in the strongest possible terms. Before the exhibition opened, a panel of Iranian experts was invited to inspect the Cylinder and they confirmed its authenticity.

The misunderstanding has arisen because of recent conservation work on the cylinder, which has led to the ends of the cylinder looking different in various photographs. Conservation work on this and other pieces in the British Museum is an ongoing process, designed to make objects as stable as possible and render them fit for to travel.

Best wishes,

[Name Removed]

Press TV [3]

Longer Iran stay urged for Cyrus Cylinder
Sun Jan 2, 2011 7:19PM

A number of non-governmental organizations have asked cultural officials to extend the exhibition of Cyrus Cylinder in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

In a letter to Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (ICHTO), the NGOs asked officials to negotiate with the British Museum and extend the time of the exhibition.

“As Iranian cultural heritage lovers, we ask the ICHTHO director to do his best to keep the artifact on display until the end of Nowruz [Persian New Year] holidays,” the letter read.

The Cyrus Cylinder, on loan from the British Museum, was sent to Iran for a four-month exhibition which will end on January 10, 2011.

The cylinder was escorted by a delegation headed by the British Museum keeper of the Middle East collections, John Curtis, to the exhibition site where it was displayed for the first time in the past 40 years.

The Achaemenid Cultural Society, the Elam Study Center, the Mehregan Cultural Society, the Research Center for Iranian Culture and Civilization are among the organizations and institutes which have asked for the Achaemenid relic to remain in Iran.

“People will have more free time during the holidays to visit the artifact,” they said in the letter.

Head of Iran’s National Museum Azadeh Ardakani announced last week that they had started preliminary negotiations with British Museum officials about extending the event.

The final decision, however, would be made by head of the ICHTO, she added, Mehr News Agency reported.

According to Ardakani, about 205,000 people have visited the artifact since the exhibition kicked off in September 2010.

The 2,500-year-old Cyrus Cylinder was to be temporarily handed over to Iran in September 2009. The British Museum however backed out of the agreement, citing Iran’s post-election unrest.

Tehran had earlier said that it would cease cooperation with the British Museum until the cylinder is loaned to the National Museum of Iran.

Considered the world’s first charter of human rights, the clay cylinder is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus II, king of Persia (559-530 BCE).