The Persian Rug Strikes Back

They’rrrre baaaaack.

After years of sanctions, Persian rugs are back in the world markets.

As reported by Mehr News Agency, The Deputy Head of Iran’s Carpet Center for Economic Affairs Mohammad Mehdi Farshchi said Iran exported hand-woven carpets worth $180 million over the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year (which began March 20).

Iran exported $290 million hand-woven rugs in 2016, he said, adding the figure rose to $359 million in 2016, rising by 3 percent in terms of weight and and 23 percent in terms of value.

The US, Germany, Lebanon, UAE, Pakistan, Japan, Britain, Qatar, South Africa and Australia were among the top ten customers of Persian carpets last year with the US taking the lead in imports of the product from Iran.

As a result of the 2010 US imposed sanctions, exports of Persian rugs to the US came to a total stop, and the overall value of exported rugs began to decline. The United States has long been considered the world’s top importer of handmade rugs and was Iran’s top customer before the sanctions in 2010.

Iran’s rug industry has long had a significant impact on Iran’s non-oil exports. Nearly two decades ago, Iran had a record high export of nearly $690 million worth of handwoven carpets (then 17.5% of total non-oil exports). But over the past decade, the value of such exports has slumped, largely due to crippling sanctions.

While the resurrection of rug exports is helpful to Iran’s struggling economy, it will do little to fix the country’s achilles heel; rampant corruption.

The following photos celebrate the prestigious and world-renowned Persian rug, once again traded globally, for all to enjoy. The photos are from Hamadan, a city rich with Iranian history, civilization and widely regarded as influential in the art of rug weaving.

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