Jul 31 2012
By Khayoun Saleh
Iraq has urged Iran to return Iraqi relics it has seized in accordance with agreements between the countries.
The request was made by Tourism and Antiquities Minister Liwa Sarsam who is currently on a visit to Iran to boost cultural ties and reactivate past agreements.
“We have asked the Iranian side to return the smuggled Iraqi antiquities which Iranian security forces have seized,” Sarsam said.
He gave no details about the Iraqi relics kept by Iran.
Sarsam said Iran had seized an unspecified number of Iraqi relics that had gone missing in the tumultuous period that followed the 2003-U.S. invasion.
Iranian police have also laid their hands on numerous Iraqi antiquities that were taken across the international borders by smugglers, Sarsam added.
The Iranians, he said, have expressed willingness to return the antiquities in light of agreements between the countries.
“Our delegation is seeking to translate into action the agreements we have signed a few years ago which aim at developing relations in the spheres of tourism and antiquities,” Sarsam added.
He said the Iranians have agreed to rehabilitate Iraqi ancient sites as well as Iraqi manuscripts.
“The Iranian side will contribute to the training of Iraqi archaeology staff on the restoration of relics, safeguarding of ancient sites and anti-smuggling procedures and methods,” Sarsam said.