Azerbaijan, Baku, Sep.28 / Trend R.Zamanov /
The United States has returned to Iran an ancient Persian artifact known as the Griffin.
Iran's vice president Mohammad-Ali Najafi unveiled the artifact in Tehran's Mehrabad airport after returning from a trip to the United States, the Fars News Agency reported.
Najafi, who is also the head of the cultural heritage and tourism organization, said the US State Department returned the artifact as a sign of good faith in a bid to improve cultural relations between Tehran and Washington.
Najafi said American authorities told him the ancient artifact was seized at a US airport from an Arab antique dealer in 2003.
The griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail and back legs of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.
The US officials believe the relic dates back to 700 years before Christ when the Achaemenid Empire ruled Persia.
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