The US trade embargo on Iranian carpets which had been in place since 1987 was lifted at the end of April 2000.
This will be a huge relief to the international textile trade, since the absence of US buyers for the major pieces has had a dampening effect on the market.
US dealers who have been unable to exhibit at European antique and textile fairs will find it welcome. Danny Shafer, of the Hali Carpet and Textile Fair which takes place from 15 to 19 June commented, “The lifting of the ban has made the participation of five American dealers possible, including John Collins from Boston and the Hazara Gallery from Oakland California. In previous years they would not even consider coming.”
The wording of the new regulations is specific and refers to carpets and textile floor coverings and carpets used as wall hangings, among other items.
Other Persian decorative arts in particular metalwork and manuscripts for which there is a large US market are still affected. Although embargoed goods had been entering the US under various guises (it has been common practice to pass off Persian carpets as Indian) or via the Canadian border, the lifting of the ban will be a boost not only to the antiques trade but also to contemporary Iranian carpet production.
The move signals a change in the US’s hard-line policy to Iran no doubt influenced by the recent Iranian parliamentary elections in which the moderates made huge gains.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Trade embargo on Iran partially lifted'