Fri Dec 26, 2014
The biggest-ever collection of historic artifacts is finally restituted to Iran from Belgium.
The plane carrying the precious collection, boarded from Brussels at 2:00 p.m. local time (1030 GMT), and arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, Thursday evening.
A ceremony was held in Tehran’s International Mehrabad Airport for the customs clearance of the collection.
Massoud Soltanifar, who serves as the vice-president and head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), also attended the ceremony.
He said that Iranian authorities moved the collection from the Museum of Brussels University to Iran’s Embassy after a court issued a verdict approving Iran’s right for restitution of the collection to Tehran. Then the ICHTO chartered a special flight to transfer the collection, he said.
On December 22, the appellate court in Liège passed the final verdict in favor of the restitution of the Iranian heritage.
Soltanifar said the collection will be transferred to Iran’s national museum. He added that two other legal cases are being pursued in the United States and in Europe for restitution of historic artifacts to Iran.
The historic collection contains nine boxes of precious ancient artifacts and a bronze pin stolen from an exhibition.
Yolande Wolfcarius-Maleki, a French national who acquired Iranian nationality by marriage in 1965, illegally moved the collection to Belgium over the years.
The antiquities were reportedly excavated from a 3,000-year-old ancient site near the village of Khorvin, situated 80 kilometers (49 miles) northeast of Tehran.