After 35 years, a court of Appeal in Belgium has finally ruled in favor of Iran on charges related to Khurvin stolen antiques.
Head of Iran’s Presidential Center for International Legal Affairs Mohsen Mohebbi confirmed this and said, “with proper legal arrangements and intensive coordination with the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran and the Foreign Ministry, the decision by the Belgian court has now been implemented and the officials have been cooperative so far to secure the transfer of the antiques back to Iran.” “The significance of this ruling as well as the rulings in other similar cases [the recent case of 17 stolen historical artifacts from Jiroft which were returned to Iran by the London court ruling] is that the Islamic Republic of Iran spares no effort in identifying and protecting the rights and interests of the nation on the international scene,” said Mohebbi.
While maintaining that the Belgian court decision was a great legal victory for Iran, he added that the mentioned artifacts have been returned to the embassy and would soon be delivered to Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization. With this ruling, an exquisite and priceless collection of Iran’s cultural heritage that had been illegally transferred out of the country before the Islamic Revolution will once again return to Iran and be kept in the Cultural Heritage Organization. The worth of the collection is priceless and the artifacts themselves are historically and culturally unique.
In 1965, a French woman who had acquired an Iranian nationality due to her marriage to an Iranian professor and had been living in Iran for some 18 years, with the help of a Belgian diplomat began to gradually transfer to Belgium a collection of more than 300 historical artifacts discovered in Khurvin, Savojbolagh County, Alborz Province. The artifacts date back to 2000 BC. After the Iranian government was informed of the existence of this antique collection in a Museum in Ghent, Belgium, it filed a lawsuit in the Belgian courts in 1981 and made the claims that these artifacts had been illegally transferred out of the country, belonged to the government of Iran, and as such must be returned home.
The court of first instance ruled out Iran’s claims as the rightful owner in 1998 and again in 2012 the claims were rejected due to pass of time. Iran made an appeal to the Belgian court and finally in September 2014, the court of Appeals ruled out Mrs. Maleki’s claims and established Iran’s ownership of Khurvin’s collection of antique artifacts and ruled that they be returned to Iran.