The call came in to the rug store at 10:30 on Wednesday morning:After five days in U.S. customs, the shop's first batch of carpetsimported from Iran were ready for pickup.
Store owner Alex Helmiquickly gathered his employees and told them to drive to the airport topick up the shipment: 40 handmade rugs valued at about $500,000.
"I wanted to cry", Helmi said.
A 2010 embargo on Iranian-made rugs has meant tough times for sellers such as Helmi, who found hiscarpets caught up in a clash of geopolitics and nuclear brinkmanship.Last summer's landmark international nuclear agreement, however, paved the way for importing rugs once again in what was once Iran's largest foreign market.
Iranian and U.S. officials announced last month in Vienna that Iran had complied with the terms of the deal to dismantle its nuclear program and that the sanctions that have crippled the nation's economy would be lifted. The move granted the Iranian government access to more than $50 billion in frozen assets and oil revenue.
For a room that lacks excitement, adding a rug might be the perfect answer. While that alone is a good enough reason to decorate with a rug, there are others. You might even say it completes a room by tying all the different pieces together visually. A rug can anchor a room, define it, and also add warmth and help layer a room's decor.
Rug making as an industry has thrived not only in the West, but also in the East. Originally, rugs were hand-made, mostly as a home-based industry. Later, machine-made rugs emerged with more designs and varieties.