The British Museum has loaned Iran an ancient terracotta document called the Cyrus Cylinder, after a row in which Iran said it had cut ties with the institution, a senior official said.

“The Cyrus Cylinder, which has so far been kept in the British Museum, arrived in Iran,” Vice President Hamid Baghai, who heads the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism ­Organisation, told Fars news agency.

He said the artefact arrived “under special security and will be on display for four months. Forty years ago was the last time the cylinder was in Iran, when it went on display for 10 days”.

The Cyrus Cylinder was last shown in Iran in October 1971 during the reign of the former shah, for commemorations marking 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy.

In February, Baghai said Tehran had cut ties with the British Museum in protest at repeated delays in lending it the antique, and in April he was reported as saying Iran wanted $300,000 in compensation over the delays.

On Friday he said the treasure’s showcase has also been brought from London, and that on Saturday “in the presence of experts the ­cylinder will be placed in the ­display”.

It will be shown in Iran’s National Museum, according to its director Azadeh Ardekani.

Fars reported that the artefact was accompanied from ­London by British Museum ­director Neil MacGregor and John Curtis of its Middle East ­department.

Many historians regard the Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879, as the world’s first declaration of human rights. It was ­written at the order of Persian ruler Cyrus the Great after his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC.

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