In the past year, more than 1,300 people have been arrested for offences involving cultural heritage items and more than 59,000 original and fake historical artifacts have been uncovered, says the Commander of Protection for the Tourism and Handicrafts Unit of the Cultural Heritage Department.

Mohammad Karbalayi said the capacity of his unit is very limited in view of the 31,000 registered historical artifacts and one million valuable historical items that need protection.

ILNA reports that the unit is looking at expanding its capacity and has made proposals to the head of the Cultural Heritage Department.

The statement from the cultural heritage protection unit comes as reports of illegal excavations and the smuggling of historical artifacts are on the rise.