[Hamid Baghaei, former Ahmadinejad’s vice president, brags about how he had negotiated with British official, during the time he was in Cultural Heritage Organization.]
Hamid Baghaei talks of a cultural exchange contract with the British regarding Cyrus Cylinder: A contract had been signed in the 8th government for historical artifacts to go to England to be displayed, and instead they would give us certain artifacts. And this had happened. It was 2005 and Mr. Mashaei had gone there for the opening ceremony. I realized that the British side was evading.
He continues: One day they came to Iran, and I said, ‘Don’t you want to fulfill your obligation?’ It was 2009. He said, ‘Your country is unsafe.’ I said, ‘What do you mean by unsafe?’ He said, ‘There are a lot of fights in your streets.’ I said, ‘You have to be ashamed of yourself. I read it in your own news that Harry Potter was stabbed in London. I heard it myself that its actor was [stabbed]. Our country is unsafe?’ And then on a Thursday, their Ambassador came to pay me a visit in Cultural Heritage Organization. I told him, ‘When you came here, did you come with bodyguards? Did you come with police? Or with army? What unsafety? You are just saying something!’
Hamid Baghaei asserts: Anyway, I told him, ‘If you don’t give it [Cyrus Cylinder] to us, we will not allow you to enter into our field any longer.’ And they agreed. (And now see how cheeky they are!) We had a meeting with them. They said, ‘OK. What if we give Cyrus Cylinder, and you don’t return it? Somebody should guarantee its return.’ I said, ‘Who should guarantee it?’ They said, ‘The first person of the country.’ I said, ‘What? (what I am saying is exactly recorded.) What did you say?’
Hamid Baghaei concludes: He said, ‘The first person of your country must guarantee that you will return Cyrus Cylinder.’ I said, ‘No way! The signature of the first person of our country is so sacred that we will not let it be on your papers.’ He said, ‘OK. Your president should guarantee it.’ I said, ‘Don’t even talk about it.’ He came down, and then said, ‘OK. You guarantee it.’ I said, ‘No way. Head of your national museum and head of our national museum.’ Let me tell you that in the 8th government, the then head of Cultural Heritage Organization had signed the contract with head of their national museum who had a lower rank. I forced them to sign a contract with their own counterpart.