Iran celebrates return of Achaemenid-Era clay tablets from US after 90 years

(MENAFN) Iran celebrated the return of 162 Achaemenid-era clay tablets from the United States on Saturday, marking the culmination of nearly 90 years since their initial departure. The tablets were prominently showcased at the National Museum of Iran on World Museum Day, making their public debut nine months after their repatriation in September.

Jebrael Nokandeh, the Museum Director, highlighted that the decision to send the tablets to the US decades ago was due to the inability to decipher them within Iran at that time. He emphasized the significance of these artifacts, which date back to the reign of Darius the Great (522-486 BC), in providing invaluable insights into the administrative and social structures of ancient times.

Archaeologist Sidika Piran shed further light on the historical context, noting that approximately 30,000 tablets were unearthed during excavations at Persepolis in 1932. These artifacts, she explained, were dispatched to the US in 1936 for analysis. Piran underscored that among these tablets are letters and administrative documents inscribed in Elamite and Aramaic languages, commonly used by Achaemenid kings.

Ongoing negotiations between Iran and the US aim to secure the return of the remaining tablets still housed at the University of Chicago. The process of repatriating these cultural treasures has been a protracted endeavor, with successive Iranian governments persistently pursuing the matter with US authorities. Ultimately, in February 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Iran's claim to the artifacts.

In a testament to the diplomatic efforts and perseverance, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi played a pivotal role in the return of these cultural relics during his visit to New York for the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2023. Raisi returned to Tehran with over 3,500 historical clay tablets, marking another significant milestone in the repatriation journey of Iran's cultural heritage.



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