INTERVIEW: Iranian carpet makers target U.S. with peace message

Iran’s carpet makers are distancing themselves from their government in promoting their handmade work as they seek to regain valuable U.S. sales and protect jobs following the removal of economic sanctions.

“Iranian carpets are produced by female and male weavers who are managed by the private sector, so the government does not have a big influence,” Hamid Kargar, head of the Iran National Carpet Center, said in an emailed response to questions for the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.

 

Years of sanctions had helped Iran’s three main competitors in handmade carpets – India, Pakistan and Turkey – establish themselves in many areas, including the U.S. The world’s largest buyer imported more than $80 million worth from Iran in 2010, before the trade embargo was tightened, he said.

Sanctions were lifted in January following an agreement with world powers on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program and Iran’s drive to regain U.S. market share for carpets mirrors its efforts to repair trade relations for many products.

“We are trying to show in our advertisements that Iranian carpets are independent from the government, that they are artistic products that carry a message of peace and friendship to the world,” Kargar, who runs the business promotion body that sits within Iran’s commerce ministry. (full story)

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