How US plundered Persian antiquities to fill its museums
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How US plundered Persian antiquities to fill its museums

Mohammad Beheshti, head of Iran’s Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT), said in 2017 that almost all museums across the globe featured ancient Iranian relics. Among those artworks, he said, were some 4,000 artifacts taken from Persepolis alone, the ancient Persian capital which was once called the "richest city under the sun." According to Beheshti, around 80 percent of the objects in the Arab World Museum in Paris also belonged to Iran. Western governments have long tried to cover their involvement in the systematic plunder of Persian antiquities and archaeological finds. While over the years, Iran has managed to repatriate some of the stolen relics, most of them still remain in possession of museums in the US and elsewhere, helping them generate millions of dollars in income. Dr. Mohammad Gholi Majd, who has a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University, has managed to shed more light on the manner in which the US government guided and assisted American museums in acquiring vast quantities of Iranian antiquities. In his 2003 book “The Great American Plunder of Persia's Antiquities 1925-1941,” Majd uses recently declassified US State Department records and other available sources to document this process. Majd also describes “the looting of Persia's mosques and shrines, the transfer of these religious artifacts to London, and the subsequent acquisition of some of the objects by such museums as the Metropolitan of New York,” according to one online review. The author explains that the importance of the antiquities story in American-Persian relations has remained unrecognized and much more needs to be done in this regard.

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