Joint ORIA/STEP Statement Regarding The US Embargo on The Import of Iranian Handmade Carpets, Aug 19th, 2010
Aug 19th, 2010
Joint ORIA/STEP Statement Regarding The US Embargo on The Import of Iranian Handmade Carpets
Statement regarding the US embargo on the import of Iranian handmade carpets
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, has signed a bill that prohibits the import of Iranian handmade carpets. Carpet weavers and workers are among the most deprived segments of the Iranian population. Label STEP and ORIA appeal to the US Government to exclude handmade carpets from the trade embargo.
President Obama has signed the ‘Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act’ (H.R. 2194) on July 1, 2010. The trade embargo includes handmade carpets produced in Iran and will become effective on September 29, 2010.
The number of carpet weavers, workers, and their related family members in Iran is estimated at about 8 million people. They are among the most deprived segments of the population. Most of them live and work in remote rural areas where there are only very few alternatives to earn a living.
A considerable number of carpet weavers belong to tribal peoples and still live their traditional way of life or are in a critical phase of transition into urban localities. Carpet weaving is a key element of their cultural heritage and identity and remains an important means of existence to them.
Handmade carpets were among the first globally traded goods. Their importance in commercial and cultural exchange between the East and the West has a long history. Handmade carpets are a cultural bridge and stand for peaceful exchange between the Orient and the West.
President Obama said that “these sanctions are not directed at the Iranian people” (June 9, 2010) and that “the United States stands with the Iranian people” (July 1, 2010). But the trade embargo contributes to the unemployment, impoverishment and insecurity among millions of people already struggling to make a living in Iran.