Economy, Business And Markets

Carpet Industry Comes Roaring Back

Carpet Industry Comes Roaring BackCarpet Industry Comes Roaring Back

Iran’s famed carpet weavers are busy at work following the country’s historic nuclear deal with world powers, anticipating a boost in exports as sanctions are set to be lifted in the months ahead.

“The Persian hand-woven carpet is Iran’s ambassador. I’m delighted that the ambassador is in the process of resuming work in the US,” exporter Jila Rassam Arabzadeh said this week. “The Persian carpet is like the Iranian flag, known all over the world. Let our flag fly.”

The landmark July 14 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers—the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany—is meant to limit Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions imposed by the US, EU and the UN Security Council. As part of the deal, the US will resume imports of Iranian carpets, which were halted in 2010, AP reported.

Persian carpets were the Iranian non-oil commodity that suffered most as a result of sanctions.

“Since 2010, we lost one-fifth of our exports. Our rivals replaced Iran. However, we expect that Americans will welcome Persian carpets again because of its unique designs and colors,” said Hamid Kargar, president of Iran’s National Carpet Center

Iran exported $330 million of Persian carpets last year. Exports account for two-thirds of Iran’s carpet production, which now stands at over 5 million square meters (53 million square feet) a year.

Iran was once the world’s biggest carpet exporter but the industry has been hampered by sanctions and competition from cheaper Indian, Pakistani and Chinese copies of traditional Iranian patterns.

Arabzadeh, the carpet exporter, said she is preparing to respond to a variety of American customers.

“Americans and Canadians prefer light colors but the older generations go for darker ones. We are reassessing to meet the demands of our American customers,” she said.

Hand-woven Persian carpets can range in cost from several thousand dollars to multimillion dollar floor coverings fit for palaces.

In 2000, Iran shipped a giant hand-woven carpet to the king of Oman worth $5.2 million. In 2006, Iran produced the world’s largest hand-woven floor covering, worth $8.5 million, for the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.