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Iran lays claim to British Museum’s Cyrus Cylinder

Iran lays claim to British Museum’s Cyrus Cylinder (mentioned in the Bible) Conservative Iranian newspaper raises concern that rare 6th century BC Babylonian artefact may not be returned

It was not an easy decision for the British Museum to lend one of its most treasured artefacts to a country which has a notoriously prickly relationship with the UK. So curators in London are paying close attention to an Iranian threat not to return the famous Cyrus Cylinder — now embroiled in political intrigue in the Islamic Republic.

The 6th century BC Babylonian object, sometimes described as the world’s first human rights charter, arrived in Iran at the weekend and is due to be displayed for four months at the national museum.

In a ceremony on Sunday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad draped a Palestinian-style keffiyeh scarf worn by Basij militiamen over the shoulders of a bowing actor dressed as Cyrus. He also described Cyrus reverentially as “King of the World” – a striking phrase in a country where pride in Iran’s pre-Islamic past, encouraged by the shah, has been downplayed since the 1979 revolution. For Ahmadinejad’s domestic enemies, this was another glaring example both of his self-promotion and a religious-nationalist agenda that arouses their deepest suspicions.

“Isn’t it correct that the Cyrus Cylinder belongs to Iran?” asked …….

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/15/iran-cyrus-cylinderbritish-museum

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