Jordan Returns Looted Treasures to Iraq

AMMAN (RIA Novosti) — Jordan has returned almost 2,500 ancient artifacts to Iraq which were stolen from Baghdad’s national museum following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, local media reported.

The antiquities, dating back over a period of 7,000 years, were recently seized from smugglers by Jordanian border officials in 22 separate batches.

The pieces – including coins, necklaces, ancient scrolls and ceramic pots – were handed over by Jordanian Tourism Minister Maha Khatib to her Iraqi counterpart, Mohammed Abbas al-Oraibi, in Amman.

Speaking at the ceremony at Jordan’s department of antiquities, Khatib said Jordan made the decision to return the items to Iraq, "the cradle of civilization," as stability has been restored to the country.

One of the most valuable pieces is an ivory relief from the first millennium B.C. that originated from the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrod.

At least 15,000 separate items were stolen in Iraq in 2003 and only 8,500 items have since been returned. The Iraqi tourism minister has called on other countries to follow suit and return the country’s looted treasures.