The resurgence of the Persian carpet trade

The centuries-old industry stands to benefit from the lifting of sanctions following the Iran nuclear deal.

Mohammad Ali Najib | | Arts & Culture, Iran, Middle East

Iran's carpet industry is on the brink of a rebound. 

US-led sanctions against Iran dealt a major blow to the international trade in Persian carpets. Since 2009, exports shrank by as much as 33 percent, according to the Iranian state news agency. The decline battered the market, which provides a source of income for an estimated two million people.

As the Iran nuclear deal comes into effect, Western powers, including the United States, are preparing to lift trade sanctions against Tehran. A key industry that stands to benefit is the country's carpet trade.

The resumption of the Iran talks has already boosted Iran's hand-woven carpet exports, which earned $330m for the country by the end of the Persian year in March. In the first four months of the current year, Iran sold another $60m worth of handmade carpets abroad.

Hamid Kargar, the director of the Iran National Carpet Center, told the Tehran Times that in the current year, Persian carpets have been exported to around 80 countries. About 45 percent of the exports went to Asia and another 43 percent to Europe. Before the sanctions, about 25 percent of Persian carpets were sold to the US.

More than an economic resource, Persian carpets are also a source of pride for Iranians. The carpet-weaving industry dates back hundreds of years, and its cultural significance has survived the test of time.

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