Iran seeking more docs for case of Achaemenid tablets





Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) is searching for more documents to enable the country to win the court case against the University of Chicago on the matter of the Achaemenid tablets.

CHTHO’s Judicial Office has set up a team of experts to look for the documents at the archives of Iran’s Customs Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and former prime ministerial office -- present Presidential Office, the office director Omid Ghanami told CHN on Monday.

The project aims to provide Iran with more documents to prove its ownership of the tablets kept at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.

“So far, the documents found during the search show that the tablets have been loaned to the University of Chicago and the artifacts have not been given as compensation in exchange for services performed,” Ghanami noted.

However, he said that the documents refer to implications of the subject and the team should search for more reliable documents.

According to Ghanami, it’s not certain when the court session would be held.

In spring 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that a group of people injured by a 1997 bombing in Israel could seize the 300 clay tablets loaned to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the university cannot protect Iran’s ownership rights to the artifacts.

Following Iranian officials’ protests against the ruling, the court was slated to reexamine the case on December 21, 2006, but the court session was postponed to January 19, 2007, allegedly due to the fact that Iran had not provided all the documents necessary to the court.

The court session was held on the above-mentioned date, but no verdict was issued.

The Oriental Institute holds 8000 to 10,000 intact and about 11,000 fragmented tablets, as estimated by Gil Stein, the director of the university’s Oriental Institute.

The tablets were discovered by the University of Chicago archaeologists in 1933 while they were excavating in Persepolis, the site of a major Oriental Institute excavation.




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