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CBP Officers Seize 1,000 Year-Old Iranian Artifact

Release Date: 
June 5, 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Louisville intercepted a shipment containing an ancient amber glass bottle shipped from the United Kingdom to Colorado. Iranian Vase

On May 19, 2020 CBP Officers in Louisville, Kentucky inspected a shipment containing an antique amber glass bottle purporting to be from the 9th-10th century. CBP consulted a Subject Matter Expert who affirmed the bottle was actually from Iran between the 11th and early 13th centuries.

The shipment was seized for OFAC violations pursuant to prohibited importation of goods or services from Iran. The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is a department of the U.S. Treasury that enforces economic and trade sanctions against countries and groups of individuals involved in terrorism, narcotics and other disreputable activities.

Assistant Area Port Director Eugene Matho underscored CBP’s critical role in protecting cultural property from criminal activity. “Indiscriminate vendors are often willing to overlook international safeguards that preserve the importance of keeping antiquities within their rightful community. Our officers are trained to recognize antiquities and ensure their safety and sanctity from illicit traders. CBP is proud to return this artifact and help restore the Iranian cultural heritage.”

Generally, OFAC will not allow any merchandise from Cuba, Iran, Burma (Myanmar) or most of Sudan. To bring in merchandise from these countries, you will first need a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.

Last modified: 
June 5, 2020