April 6, 2011

Tehran may cut cultural ties with Louvre

Posted at 12:52 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the threats by Tehran to cut ties with the Louvre, due to dispute over artefact loan agreements.

Tehran Times

February 1, 2011
Iran may cut cultural ties with France over Louvre’s perfidy
Tehran Times Culture Desk

TEHRAN — Iran has threatened to break its cultural links with France if the Louvre continues to renege on agreements with the country.

The Louvre has not fulfilled its commitments of organizing a showcase to display a collection of its Persian artifacts in Iran, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Director Hamid Baqaii said in a press release on Sunday.

“The Louvre officials must give an exact date and details for an exhibition of its Persian artifacts in Iran before the end of the (Iranian) year, otherwise we will cut our cultural relations with France,” he noted.

The Iranian year comes to end on March 20.

Iran loaned artifacts from the Safavid-era (1501–1736) for “The Song of the World” exhibition, which was held at the Louvre from October 5, 2007 to January 7, 2008.

Baqaii said that the Louvre had promised to organize an exhibit in Iran to showcase a collection of its Persian artifacts instead.

“So far, Louvre officials have not fulfilled their promises,” he lamented.

In January 2010, Iran threatened to cut cultural ties with the British Museum after it postponed loaning the Cyrus Cylinder for a show at the National Museum of Iran.

It seemed that the warning produced a positive outcome as the British Museum sent the Cyrus Cylinder for the show in September 2010.

Hurriyet Daily News

Iran warns France over Louvre artifacts
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tehran has warned it will cut cultural ties with France if renowned Parisian museum the Louvre fails to set up an exhibition of Persian artifacts in Iran as agreed, an official was cited as saying Monday.

“If this museum [the Louvre] fails to fulfill its commitment with the [Iranian] Cultural Heritage Organization in the next two months, then we will cut cultural ties with France,” organization head Hamid Baghai was quoted as saying by Tehran Emrouz newspaper.

Under an agreement between Iran and France, “years ago we set up exhibits in the Louvre in exchange for them setting up their Persian artifacts here,” he said.

“But Louvre officials have not taken any steps. The officials at the Louvre have until the end of 1389 [the Iranian year ending March 2011] to tell us precisely when and what they are going to set up here,” he said, accusing the Paris museum of failing to keep its end of the bargain.

Baghai said one of the exhibitions set up by Iran at the Louvre pertained to the Safavid era (1501-1736) and another depicts 10,000 years of Iran’s civilization.

This is not the first time Baghai has taken on a world-renowned museum. In February 2010, he said Tehran had severed ties with the British Museum in protest over repeated delays in lending the Islamic republic the world-famous Cyrus Cylinder, a fragmented 2,600-year-old clay item bearing a cuneiform inscription.

In April he was reported as demanding $300,000 in compensation over the delay by the British Museum.

The British Museum loaned Iran the Cyrus Cylinder in September 2010, bringing to an end the controversy over the ancient terracotta.

It was last shown in Iran in October 1971, during the reign of the former shah, as part of commemorations marking 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally inaugurated the exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder at a ceremony in which he praised Iran’s pre-Islamic culture and heritage.

Many historians regard the Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879, as the world’s first declaration of human rights. It was written at the order of Persian ruler Cyrus the Great after his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC.

Many of Persian artifacts dating back thousands of years can be seen across museums in Europe, the United States and Russia.

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