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Iran Nuclear Talks

After Iran deal, imported Persian rugs reach L.A.

After Iran deal, imported Persian rugs reach L.A.

The call came in to the rug store at 10:30 on Wednesday morning: After five days in U.S. customs, the shop’s first batch of carpets imported from Iran were ready for pickup.

Store owner Alex Helmi quickly gathered his employees and told them to drive to the airport to pick up the shipment: 40 handmade rugs valued at about $500,000.

“I wanted to cry,” Helmi said.

A 2010 embargo on Iranian-made rugs has meant tough times for sellers such as Helmi, who found his carpets caught up in a clash of geopolitics and nuclear brinkmanship. Last summer's landmark international nuclear agreement, however, paved the way for importing rugs once again in what was once...