US sanctions banning the import of Iranian carpets, even through other countries, has had a significant effect on the number being produced.
But the sanctions, introduced in September 2010, had little effect on the Iranian government as most of the carpets were made by people in rural areas and not sold through large government corporations.
Before the sanctions, the value of Persian carpets imported by the United States was estimated to be about US$41 million (Dh150m).
According to the Iranian news agency Mehr News, the UAE, Germany, Japan, Lebanon and Qatar are the top five importers of Iranian handmade carpets, with a 52 per cent market share worth $160m.
The head of the Iranian National Carpet Centre told the news agency in December that the export value reached $556m last year.
* Mitya Underwood