TEHRAN: Nine bronze statues, some of famous Iranians and costing thousands of dollars, have been stolen in Tehran in what is said to be serial thievery, Fars news agency reported on Sunday.
The thefts, committed over the past few weeks, have prompted city officials to stop erecting new statues in the Iranian capital, the report said, quoting a municipal official.
One of the stolen statues was of famous Iranian poet Shahriar while others were of artisans, thinkers and heroes of the 1906 constitutional revolution, the report said, adding that the ninth bust, stolen on Saturday, was of a contemporary lexicographer.
The stolen statues were worth $12,000 to 50,000 each, newspapers said.
"After the serial theft of these bronze statues in Tehran, work on erecting new ones will be halted," Mojtaba Mousavi, an official from Tehran Municipality told Fars.
The ruling affected at least five statues which were about to be erected, including one of Ibn Sina, the famous Iranian first millennium polymath, he said.
"Some of the statues were stolen during the Nowrouz holidays (the Iranian new year which began on March 21) and some of them in recent days," Mousavi said, adding that a complaint had been filed with the judiciary.
Mousavi said the robbers had the tools and time to "uproot" the statues which were heavy and encrusted in cement.
He suggested that the theft may have been committed to procure the bronze for melting down and resale.
Mousavi said that there were still several statues at various places across Tehran but that "guarding them all the time by police" was difficult.