Argentinian diplomat to Iran caught smuggling
Published on October 8th, 2009 | by Admin2
During seven years as Argentina’s man in Tehran, Sebastian Zavalla would have had ample opportunity to collect a souvenir or two as mementoes to his fondness of Persian culture. But when Iranian customs officials learned that at the end of his posting, the diplomat was shipping home almost six tonnes of “personal effects” , they became suspicious.
Overriding conventions on diplomatic immunity, they opened the cargo to discover an array of antiquities, including gold and silver coins dating from Iran’s ancient dynasties, battle shields, manuscripts, engraved stones and a 200-year-old framed marriage certificate.
Zavalla’s appetite for Persian antiques has triggered an international row after Iran’s foreign ministry accused Argentina of an “undignified diplomatic act”.