February 02, 2019 16:09
News ID: 4174

(Persia Digest) – Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal and the reinstatement of US sanctions have created numerous obstacles for Iran’s handicrafts market.

Despite comments that sanctions have not affected the handicrafts market, artisans and exporters of the hand arts have a different opinion; if no arrangements are made for this Iranian art, less production will mean more unemployment for many of its artists and exporters.

Isfahani silversmith, Amir-Massoud Ehtemam, has a certificate of authenticity from Unesco. He told Persia Digest (PD) in an interview: “Silverware exports are healthy in the quality of goods, because this is an unrivaled Iranian art. But the volume of exports can be improved, because we must compete with countries like India and Thailand who are ahead of us in terms of quantity, packaging, and shipment to Europe and the US.”

Ehtemam pointed to the impact of US sanctions on silverware, saying: “This has affected our trade. We are forced to send these to the UAE before dispatch to their final destination, thus increasing costs.”

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He continued: “Exporting large volumes of silverware and etchings is also problematic. If the number of parcels is more than the limits allowed, this is considered trade by the US and returned.”

Deputy Chief of Isfahan’s Handwoven Carpets Union, Saeid Asachi, also talked to Persia Digest (PD) about the impact of sanctions on the carpet industry saying: “Sanctions have dropped the export of carpets to a minimum, because 35 percent of goods were exported to the US. This can also be exported to other countries, but payments cannot be made.”

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Pointing to the effects of currency rates on raw materials for carpets, he added: “Presently, the price of good quality silk has increased fivefold YOY, but carpet prices have not even doubled yet. Production is not economically feasible. Our production obstacles are more serious than our export difficulties; this has led to a stoppage of work in 40 to 50 percent of handwoven carpet workshops.”

Asachi stated that around seven to eight million people in Iran earn a living in the carpet industry, adding: “If proper policies are not adopted, our production will stop completely in two years.”

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