Iran has offered to safeguard potentially at-risk Iraqi artifacts after a video released by the Islamic State group showed its militants using sledgehammers to smash relics in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.

Mohammad Hassan Talebian, a senior official at Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization, says Iran has written to Irina Bokova, the head of the U.N. cultural agency, and Iraqi officials to say that Iran is ready to host Iraqi ancient artifacts as long as they are at risk.

Talebian was quoted Saturday by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying Iran feels obligated to protect the historical relics of Iraq, a neighbor with which it shares a common history. He denounced the Islamic State group's destruction of the ancient statues.