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EghtesadOnline: About $164 million worth of hand-woven carpets were exported from Iran’s East Azarbaijan Province in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2017).

“With sanctions gone, we’re aiming to increase our exports this year,” the head of East Azarbaijan Industries, Mining and Trade Organization’s Carpet Department, Nasser Avishan, said.

Export destinations included Germany, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon, Pakistan, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, England and South Africa, among which Arab countries and Germany were the biggest buyers, ILNA reported.

Referring to the role of carpet industry in creating jobs, Avishan noted that 275,000 carpet weavers were directly active in East Azarbaijan in the fiscal 2015-16, according to Financial Tribune.

According to the official, East Azarbaijan is the world’s hub of hand-woven carpets and more effective actions should be taken to boost the carpet industry in this province.

Hamid Kargar, the head of Iran’s National Carpet Center, said close to $350 million worth of Iranian hand-woven carpets were exported from Iran last year, registering a 27% increase,.

More than $84 million of the total were exported to the US, up from $2.7 million the year before, which indicates a 96.7% hike.

Iran’s carpet exports were hit hard by sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program. The United States—the biggest importer of Iran’s handmade rugs—banned the import of Iranian carpets, among other products, in September 2010.

Kargar refers to the restart of carpet exports to the US after the sanctions as the most significant event for the Persian carpet industry.

“The unfair sanctions kept us away from the world’s biggest market of carpets for years but the JCPOA really paved the way,” he said.

JCPOA is the official name of the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers in July 2015. Its implementation marked the official roll-back of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Twenty-two hand-weaving carpet regions in Iran have been registered at the World Intellectual Property Organization.

WIPO is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. It is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. Their mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

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