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Cyrus Cylinder lent to Iran

The Cyrus Cylinder will return to Iran temporarily [1] – but only in exchange for numerous Iranian artefacts being lent to the British Museum. Whilst such reciprocal lending agreements can increase mobility of museum collections, at the same time, the fact that such an arrangement is entered into can legitimise the ownership of artefacts of disputed provenance.

Far News Agency [2]

Cyrus Charter to Be Taken Home from UK

TEHRAN (FNA)- Officials from Iran National Museum are in talks with their counterparts from the British Museum to borrow the famous Charter of the Cyrus the Great for a few months to put it on public display at home.

Deputy chairman of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Hamid Baqaee, told the Islamic republic news agency in London that Tehran was to transfer the baked-clay cylinder to Iran after finalizing the ongoing talks with the British Museum where is the house of the charter which is considered as the first human rights declaration.

The charter of Cyrus the Great, the Persian King of 539 B.C. is a baked-clay Aryan language (Old Persian) cuneiform cylinder that was discovered in 1878 in an excavation operation in the site of Babylon.

The Persian King described in the charter his humane treatment of the inhabitants of Babylonia after its conquest by the Iranians.

The document has been hailed as the first charter of human rights, and in 1971 the United Nations published a translation of it in all the UN official languages.

The cylinder is currently housed in the British Museum and a replica of it is being kept at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

In parts of the declaration, Cyrus had said, “Until I am alive, I prevent unpaid, forced labor. To day, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job provided that they never violate other’s rights.”

Baqaee hoped that grounds would be prepared for the transfer of the cylinder to Iran.

“Cultural ties would help promote social relations among nations,” Baqaee said, adding that growing cultural relations would influence nations’ political and economic ties as well “although cultural issues are different from political affairs.”

Baqaee is in London for the inauguration of an exhibition on Iran’s arts and culture during the Safavid era (1501-1732).

The exhibition was inaugurated a couple of days ago at the British Museum and would continue for four months.

Scores of artworks including paintings, calligraphy, China dishes, textiles and handwritten Qurans from the Safavid era were collected from 30 museums worldwide and put on display at the exhibition.