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Italy, eager to recover artifacts, returns tombstone to Iran

April 9, 2018

ROME (AP) — Italy has returned to Iran a 17th century tombstone, featuring Arabic and Farsi inscriptions, that police found abandoned near a cemetery outside Rome.

Italy’s carabinieri art squad organized a handover ceremony Monday to deliver the tombstone to Iranian Ambassador Jahanbakhsh Mozaffari.

Italy has been on a decades-long campaign to recover priceless artifacts that were looted from Italy and ended up in top-end museums and private collections around the globe. Police said the return of the tombstone was “evidence of the importance that Italy places on the culture of restitution.”

Police didn’t estimate the value of the tombstone, or explain how it was believed to have arrived in Italy. A statement said only that it had been abandoned near the Ferentino cemetery near Frosinone and was found in August 2015.

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