Iranians were surprised last week when they saw a familiar face in a historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, Persian rug, a symbol of the country’s rich history and culture on the world stage.
The photos taken during an informal meeting between the two leaders showed a red Heris rug laid in the room.
The summit has been widely regarded as a diplomatic coup for North Korea, which repeated its commitment towards denuclearisation in a joint statement.
The hand-woven Heris rugs native to Iran’s northwestern province of Azerbaijan Sharqi, a major carpet-weaving zone in Iran.
Azerbaijan Sharqi’s neighboring province of Ardabil, Isfahan in central Iran and Kerman in the country’s southeast are other major carpet-weaving zones, each having its own unique style.
Carpet weaving has a history of 2,500 years in Iran, ingrained in the country’s national identity. There are currently as many as 1 million weavers across the country, including 700,000 full-time artisans involved in the profession.
Iranian carpets are currently exported to 80 countries, among whom the US holds a special place.
The US has long been a major market for Iran’s hand-woven carpets but unilateral US sanctions have hurt Iran’s export to the country in recent years.