Iran displays ancient Persian artifacts returned from the US

Iranian amateur archaeologist Bijan Mohebbi and his wife Azar Esfandiari, who is a professional archaeologist, visit a show displaying some 550 ancient Persian artworks returned by Western countries, including the US, at Iran National Museum in Tehran. (AP)
Updated 09 February 2017
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Iran displays ancient Persian artifacts returned from the US

TEHRAN: Iran is displaying hundreds of ancient and Persian artifacts, some dating back as far as 3,500 years and all of them recently brought back home from museums and collections in Western countries.
Mohammad Hassan Talebian, deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, said that all of the items on display were repatriated over the past two and a half years from England, Belgium, Italy and the US.
He credits the improved relations between Tehran and the West in the wake of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal for helping make the process possible.
“The atmosphere after the nuclear deal was very important,” Talebian said. “It made it easy to bring back all these objects home.”
The special exhibit, which opened Monday in Tehran’s National Museum, displays 558 different artifacts.
They include hunting tools and stitching needles from the Iron Age and a pair of necklaces dating back more than 2,000 years to the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great — the high point of the Persian rule.
Among the oldest items on display are dozens of clay bowls, jugs and engraved coins dating back 3,500 years and formerly housed in the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute.
Iran and the US have not had diplomatic relations since 1979, when Iranian students stormed the US Embassy and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
The 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers put limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international economic sanctions.
However, the brief thaw in Iranian-American relations may be short-lived. New US president Donald Trump has heavily criticized the deal and has already engaged in a war of words with Iran’s leadership and put Tehran “on notice” over a recent ballistic missile test.
The items from the University of Chicago had previously been displayed on their own in May 2016, but this is the first time that all of the items repatriated from these four countries have been displayed together.
Myriam Rahgoshay, an arts enthusiast, said that the return of these and thousands of other historic artifacts still overseas is a key boost to Iranian national identity.
“This is a source of great pride and pleasure, because our identity, which is subject to disintegration, is becoming whole again,” she said.


At least 7 killed by car bomb in Benghazi, Libya

A historic building that was destroyed during a three-year conflict is seen in Benghazi, Libya, on February 28, 2018. A car bomb explodsion on a busy street in the center of Benghazi on Thursday night killed at least seven people. (REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo)
Updated 12 min 33 sec ago
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At least 7 killed by car bomb in Benghazi, Libya

  • The bomb exploded behind the Tibesti hotel, the city’s biggest, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, on a street where people were taking a stroll after a day of fasting until sunset in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
  • Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the dominant force in eastern Libya led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

BENGHAZI, Libya: At least seven people were killed and 10 wounded when a car bomb exploded on a busy street in the center of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday night, a hospital medic said.
The bomb exploded behind the Tibesti hotel, the city’s biggest, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, on a street where people were taking a stroll after a day of fasting until sunset in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
No more details on the bombing were immediately available. Eight cars parked on the street lined with shops were destroyed.
Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the dominant force in eastern Libya led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
The LNA was battling Islamists, including some linked to Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, as well as other opponents until late last year in the Mediterranean port city.
Security has improved since then, but two mosque bombings earlier this year killed at least 35 people.
Haftar launched his military campaign in Benghazi in May 2014 in response to bombings and assassinations blamed on Islamist militants, part of anarchy that ensued after a NATO-backed uprising ended Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in 2011.
In the past few months, there have been occasional, smaller- scale bombings apparently targeting LNA allies or supporters, but attacks in the city center are rare (Reporting by Ayman Al-Warfalli)