PAAIA Advocates to Protect Persian Artifacts





Last week, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) contacted Senator Robert Menendez regarding his amendment to the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012, and its potential impact on the University of Chicago’s collection of Persian Artifacts.  

In the 1930s and 1960s, the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute collaborated with Iran in excavating ancient clay tablets from the Persepolis and Chogha Mish sites and shipped them to Chicago for reconstruction and long-term research.  The Persepolis Fortification Texts are 2,500 year-old artifacts that consist of ancient Persian seal impressions and cuneiform writings that provide a unique first-hand account of life in the Persian Empire under Darius the Great. Approximately 20,000 pieces remain on loan to the Oriental Institute for additional research.  The Chogha Mish artifacts cover a chronological span from the Neolithic to the Proto-Literate period and provide vital information on cultural developments during that period in Iran’s southwest Khuzistan Province.

In a lawsuit pending before a United States federal court, plaintiffs are seeking to obtain custody over the historical artifacts housed at the University of Chicago as compensation for injuries sustained during a 1997 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. The lawsuit serves as the intersection of victims’ rights, international law, state ownership of property, cultural heritage and diplomatic matters....



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