Source: Press TV
Iran's prized rug trade is getting a boost from the lifting of sanctions, with exports to the US reclaiming the lost ground in a big way.
3rd biggest Persian carpet (October 2012 file photo by Yunes Khani)
A stack of sanctions imposed in 2010 and then in 2012 pulled the rug from under the much-coveted Iranian carpet business, allowing cheaper craft from Pakistan, India and China to gain a foothold in the US and other key markets.
A nuclear accord reached in July has put Iran back on the market and the country's elegant hand-knotted carpets have returned to their traditional destinations with a vengeance.
According to head of the Iranian National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar on Tuesday, Iran's carpet exports to the US significantly grew in the four months since the beginning of the Persian year on March 21, totaling $27.6 million.
The figure compared with $80 million of Iranian carpet exports a year to the United States before the sanctions were imposed, bringing them to zero, the IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Kargar said Iran exported $83 million of carpets in total in the first quarter of its calendar year, a rise of about 40% year-on-year.
Iranian caviar, pistachios, saffron and carpets and US commercial aircraft and their parts are among the items allowed for limited business with the US.
Carpets are a major source of revenue for Iran's $400 billion economy behind oil and gas and their derivatives, and pistachio nuts.
In 2011, the country exported more than $600 million worth of carpets and sought to raise it to $1 billion in the next year but intensified sanctions disrupted the plan.
In the United States, Persian carpets are offered from $200,000 to $5,000 a piece depending on the type of the fabric, design and intricacy employed in their making.
Those produced in India, Pakistan and China sell for about half the price of Persian carpets due to their lower quality, according to dealers.
In recent years, Iranian rug dealers have switched to the Asian market, catering especially to the growing crave in China and the UAE where many affluent families see exotic Persian carpets as a way of investment.
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