Aug 11, 2021 06:37 UTC
  • US seizes Qur'anic tiles from Iran for mosque in Virginia

US custom authorities have confiscated a set of Iranian tiles to be used in construction of a new mosque in Virginia, demanding they must be shipped back to Iran or destroyed.

The tiles, which are adorned with Qura'nic verses, were shipped in June from the Iranian holy city of Qom, to be used in construction of the Manassas Mosque in northern Virginia.

However, they were confiscated at Dulles International Airport after they were deemed to violate sanctions on Iran, the mosque's imam Abolfazl Nahidian said on Tuesday.

The tiles were a gift and he paid no money for them, but custom authorities at the airport blocked him from claiming them citing the sanctions, he told a news conference at the mosque.

A letter from Customs and Border Protection informed the mosque that the tiles must be either shipped back to Iran or destroyed, the Associated Press cited him as saying.

Destroying the tiles, which are adorned with Qur'anic verses, "is the same as destroying verses of the Qur'an, or the whole Qur'an itself”, Nahidian said.

The mosque is now asking the Biden administration to release the custom-made tiles.

Nahidian said he has received other tile shipments throughout the years without incident, including one shipment that arrived eight months ago. He has led the mosque for nearly three decades.

The Biden administration is locked in a standoff over the US return to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, showing an aversion to remove the most draconian sanctions which its predecessor imposed on the Islamic Republic.

President Joe Biden has admitted that Washington was wrong to abandon the nuclear agreement, but he is showing an urge to retain some aspects of the sanctions as leverage to pressure Iran.

ME

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