12 October 2009
Britain and Iran on collision course... sort of
Running separate to the furore over June’s stolen election, or its nuclear ambitions Britain and Iran are in a furious (well sort of) war of words over an important cultural artefact.
According to the BBC the Iranian government has said it will cease cultural co-operation with the British Museum unless a treasure known as the Cyrus Cylinder is loaned to the nation.
A British Museum statement said its trustees have "reaffirmed their intention to lend the Cylinder to Iran" but added that "there are a number of issues and practicalities to be resolved, but the intention is to send it as agreed."
Mr Baqaie said Iran's Cultural Heritage Organisation would consider severing ties with the British Museum if the piece was not loaned to them within two months.
The object, which is around 2,500 years old, was ordered to be made by Persian king Cyrus. It is said to represent the first bill of rights and encapsulate religious toleration.
Given that many of the artefacts at the recent Shah Abbas exhibition came from Iran so it is only fair that an important item is loaned to Iran. After all it was hardly dredged up from the Thames riverbed...