Chogha Mish Relics Restituted to Iran

Chogha Mish Relics Restituted to IranChogha Mish Relics Restituted to Iran

Over 100 historical artifacts belonging to Iran were returned Wednesday by the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.

Gil Stein, director of the institute, headed the delegation which brought the 8000-year-old artifacts to Iran in the wee hours on Wednesday. The delegation was greeted by officials from Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Mehr news agency reported.

Deputy director of the ICHHTO Mohammad Hassan Talebian, director of museum affairs Mohammad Reza Kargar, and director of National Museum of Iran Mahnaz Gorji were among the people present at the Imam Khomeini International Airport.


In a joint excavation effort in 1937, Iranian archeologists and experts from the Oriental Institute discovered 264 artifacts in Chogha Mish County in Dezful, Khuzestan Province.

Iran agreed to allow the American experts to take the artifacts to the US for further studies before returning them back. A number of the artifacts were returned prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but 108 relics remained there.

In the mid- to late-1980s, Iranian officials voiced dismay at the Unites States’ failure to abide by its obligation to return the artifacts, and formally filed a complaint at The Hague. Finally, amid rising tensions and just when it seemed the court case would drag on, The Hague ruled in favor of Iran and obliged the US to restitute the objects.

On Wednesday morning, the Oriental Institute fulfilled its obligations and returned the artifacts to its rightful owner.

This is the second shipment of Iranian historical artifacts which has been returned to Iran in recent months. A shipment of 349 ancient relics was returned to Iran from Belgium in December 2014 – after 33 years - following a ruling by a Belgian court.

The newly returned objects will soon go on display at the National Museum of Iran.