Critical Sanctions Against Iran Impact the Antique Rug Market

In the latest chapter of the government’s unstable relations with Iran, the United States House of Representatives expanded trade restrictions in the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to include an embargo on carpets and trade goods sent to and from Iran. As of September 29, 2010, carpets and all Iranian imports are contraband items to be seized and destroyed. This decisive action from the United States Government supports similar sanctions approved by the European Union.
With a long series of violations involving human rights, nuclear weapons, elections, and threats against Israel, the latest sanctions from the United States and the European Union are intended to cut-off Iranian trade and force the country to negotiate. Sponsored in April, 2009, by California Rep. Howard Berman and 343 members of the House, the CISADA was signed into law July 1, 2010, by President Obama. Under the new law, importing carpets from Iran is a crime treated the same severity as selling weapons and dual-use technology to terrorists and international crime groups. According to the CISADA, importing Iranian carpets and distributing contraband items for resale in the aftermarket is illegal as of September 29, 2010.
Persian rugs are caught in the middle on an ongoing international struggle with tensions growing between U.S. allies, Iran, and trading partners that include China and Russia. It’s important to understand that very few antique carpets are imported from Persia, and the majority of these pieces have been held by western collectors and dealers for the past century. Almost all antique carpet companies do not import their antique Persian rugs from Iran and would never sell acquisitions that violate the current embargo. A large collection of carpets acquired during open trade periods is the only way for companies to weather the storm – the smaller ones are bound to close.
With the last Iranian carpets legally imported to the United States on September 29th, 2010, consumers must act quickly to take advantage of this excellent investment opportunity. Consumers can expect increased competition and soaring prices in the general market as collectors rush to buy new acquisitions while retaining their prized investment pieces. In an uncertain market with a diminishing supply of antique rugs, savvy investors and consumers can seize the opportunity and make smart buys on one-of-a-kind pieces.
When the last embargo on Persian carpets was enacted after the Gulf War, it lasted more than ten years. In the current political climate, there is no way of predicting how Iran will respond or how long the sanctions will last.