A member of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce says Iran’s exports of hand-woven carpets have dropped to about $70 to $80 million per year from about $500 million before the US sanctions.
Head of Tehran's Chamber of Commerce's Exports Committee Razi Haji Aghamiri told ILNA on Sunday that unprofessional measures by the trade authorities have decreased the exports to such a low point that practically there is nothing left of this business.
He described the restrictions by Iran’s Central Bank for the revenues of carpet exports as the “coup de grâce” to the sector, but the sharp drop in exports seems to be more related to the US sanctions.
Data from the Trade Ministry show that the export of traditional Iranian hand-woven carpets in 2001, when nuclear sanctions against Iran had not yet been imposed, was more than half a billion dollars, over a quarter of which was imported by the United States, with Germany, Lebanon, and Britain as other major customers.
The exports picked up again in 2017, immediately after the implementation of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reaching about $426 million. But the figure started to fall again after the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 when Washington reimposed sanctions on the import of Iranian rugs. Importing Iranian carpet to the United States is forbidden even through a third country.
In August 2018, Fereshteh Dastpak, the head of Iran's National Carpet Center at the time, claimed that the value of the hand-woven carpet exports amounted to $1.2 billion annually over the past decade.