In Iran, smugglers of valuable antiquities and works of art will in future be liable to the death penalty. Speaking on TV, Ali Junesi, the Teheran State Prosecutor, warned against illegal excavations and smuggling attempts. Hundreds of antique items were shown in the TV programme, ranging from ancient statues and carpets to valuable manuscripts of the works of classical Persian poets. The items going to be smuggled out of the country included a 350 Kg block of stone, from the fourth-century BC palace of a Persian Great King. Since the 1979 revolution, a large number of valuable antiques have been smuggled out of Iran, frequently with the assistance of corrupt officials.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Smuggling of antiquities'