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...
The reactor building at the Russian-built nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran, is shown in August 2010, when the first fuel was loaded at the site. Iran and six world powers have been in negotiations aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capacity.