The owner of a warehouse in LA takes in a fresh shipment of Persian rugs after santions with Iran are lifted. Julie Noce reports.
Alexi Helmi squeals with joy as he unwraps a Persian rug in his store in (tay-rhan-ga-liss) Tehranageles- an area of the L.A. known for it's large population of Iranian nationals. The rugs' arrival was a long time coming. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER OF DAMOKA PERSIAN RUGS WHOLESALERS, ALEXI HELMI, SAYING: "This is the first shipment coming to America after 5 years of sanctions for Persian carpet and I hope this will be open, you know, for all the countries to have friendship and better understanding, moving in the right direction." Until now, Helmi has maintained his inventory, in part, by buying second-hand rugs from people across the U.S. But after a nuclear deal was reached between world powers and Iran last year, embargoes were lifted and years of economic isolation for Iran were over. Helmi says the rugs were victims of politics. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER OF DAMOKA PERSIAN RUGS WHOLESALERS, ALEXI HELMI, SAYING: "I always said you cannot sanction an art, you know, rugs that were made a hundred years ago doesn't have anything to do with the politics of today or people who weave these rugs, who hand weave these rugs, they don't have anything to do with the politics. This is great this art coming to America." Some of the rugs here cost up to $250,000 dollars... others take up to ten years to weave by hand.