Iran may cut ties with British Museum over loan, press TV says

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Iran will sever all ties with the British Museum unless an ancient artifact, the Cyrus Cylinder, is loaned to the National Museum of Iran, state-run Press TV reported on its Web site.

The Cylinder, dated about 539-530 B.C. and inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform, has been described as the world’s earliest charter of human rights. The British Museum said after the Press TV report that it would keep its promise to lend the Cylinder, and was watching the Iranian political situation to make sure the loan was made in the best possible conditions.

“If the British Museum continues to make excuses for not loaning the artifact to the National Museum, we will, unfortunately, cease any cooperation with them, including archaeological expeditions and research,” Press TV quoted Hamid Baqaei, vice president in charge of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, as saying.

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