Analysis by PMOI/MEK
March 9, 2019 - "During the first 10 months of the current year, Iran's handwoven carpet exports amounted to $225 million, which showed a 30-35% drop in comparison to the same period last year," admitted Abdollah Bahrami, the general manager of Iran's handwoven carpet union.
But while Bahrami laid the blame on U.S. sanctions, which came into effect in November, what he didn't highlight was the incompetence of regime's officials, corruption and negligence towards this industry has been major causes of the sharp drop in Iran's carpet exports.
Like many other Iranian industries, the carpet and rug industries have been pushed toward bankruptcy under the rule of the mullahs. The story of Iran's carpet and rug industry is one of the gradual death of an art and a great authentic and ancient Iranian tradition. This industry has faced the fate of similar many others in Iran, whereas, throughout the years, this profession has always created numerous jobs for many Iranian men and women, who depended on it as their means of living.
Due to lack of government support toward workers and carpet producers, the industry has declined so drastically that even the regime's own media outlets have been forced to admit parts of this painful reality.
"We are afraid that the Iranian carpet will be sidelined in the international carpet market, due to competition from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan," confessed Arman, one of the media outlets affiliated with the faction of Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani.
With the Revolutionary Guards seizing a large chunk of the Iranian economy, there's a general reluctance in the global market to engage in trade deals with Iranian companies. Many companies are fronts for the IRGC and are owned by IRGC officials. The IRGC notoriously uses its economic power to fund terrorism and fuel sectarian conflicts in the Middle East region, which puts trade partners in an uneasy position to deal with Iranian entities.
A rug merchant talks about his inability to export carpet to Europe. “I used to export lots of carpets to Europe including France and Italy, but it has been more than four years that no one or no country is willing to buy carpet from me," says that merchant.
Regarding the deploring situation of rug industry and noncompetition between Iranian carpets with Indian, Pakistani or other rug manufacturing countries in the global market, an activist from Isfahan carpet bazaar says, “The situation is deplorable. India, Pakistan and other countries have gained a lot sidelining the Iranian carpet.”
The stagnating carpet industry is at a time where the number of handcraft and rug weavers in Iran is reaching beyond 3 million people and many of them are at the danger of losing their jobs. The reason is that Indian and Pakistani hand weaved carpets are being imported into Iran illegally and to add to this miserable situation, Chinese carpets have also found a good market in Iran.