World
In historic Iran deal, carpet industry gets early reprieve
It is from the standpoint of its cultural importance that the US negotiators would also have agreed to lift the sanctions against carpet import once the conditions of the deal begin to get implemented as promised
 
Even though the US is making clear that the trade embargo on Iran would stay for some more time, senior administration officials in Washington are making sure to let it be known that necessary "adjustment" will be made in the sanctions to allow the import of world-famous Persian carpets at the implementation date.
 
In a background briefing administration officials have been quoted as saying, "We are not removing our trade embargo on Iran. US persons and banks will still be generally prohibited from all dealings with Iranian companies, including investing in Iran, facilitating cleared country trade with Iran. The only adjustment we will make to those sanctions at the implementation date will be to allow the import of food and carpets from Iran and the export of civilian aircraft and parts to Iran, which has one of the worst airline safety records in the world."
 
Carpet weaving has been at the heart of Persia’s culture for at least 2,500 years, if not longer. According to Iran’s National Carpet Centre, the oldest hand-woven carpet found so far is the Pazyryk Carpet. "The carpet was discovered by Russian archaeologists in their 1949 excavation of the tomb of a Scythian king in Altay mountains. The carpet, roughly sized 189x189 cm, using carbon-dating methods, is dated back as far as 500-400 BC and now is being kept at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The experts believe it was made during the Achaemenian or Parthian rule in Persia, as most motifs and designs of the carpet resembles those popular during the time of these two dynasties," it says.
 
Perhaps it is as much a tribute to the cultural significance of the hand-woven Persian rug as its importance to Iran’s economy that the sanctions against carpet imports into the US are being lifted. America has traditionally been an important market for Persian carpets. In a country of some 80 million people about two million people are said to make a living in the carpet industry hand-weaving some five million square meters every year. It is not just the number of people employed in the industry, although it is crucial as well, it is also its deep cultural roots which are also important. 
 
According to figures widely quoted in reports about the Iranian carpet industry, during Iran’s calendar year 2012-13, the country exported carpets $427 million compared to the export worth $560 million the year before. The drop was attributed to the global sanctions against it because of its nuclear programme. In the first quarter of Iran’s national year in 2014 it was said to have exported carpets worth $57 million. The US was reported to have accounted for a meager $51,000 of that.
 
Perhaps it is from the standpoint of its cultural importance that the US negotiators would also have agreed to lift the sanctions against carpet import once the conditions of the deal begin to get implemented as promised. At the back of the negotiators’ mind there ought to have been the awareness of how integral the carpet is to life in Iran. Carpet weaving was said to have been introduced by Cyrus the Great in 529 BC and has undergone major evolution over the past two and a half thousand years. Although machine-made carpets have in recent years begun to replace the hand-woven ones, internationally the latter still remain much coveted. 
 
There is realization that easing sanctions on the Iranian carpet import into the US is not going to significantly improve the Iranian economy decimated by the economic sanctions but at least the move has the merit of convincing the Iranian people about Washington’s long-term intentions. Of course, none of this can be taken to mean any degree of normalization of relations between the two countries in the foreseeable future but there are those in the Obama administration who may have considered the deep cultural symbolism that the Persian rug has enjoyed.

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Branding Nano as cheap car was wrong: Tata
Tata said the mistake was branding the model as the cheapest car instead of affordable car
 
Branding Tata Motors small car Nano as a cheapest car was a mistake and was one of the reasons for the model not taking off as expected, Rata Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, said here on Wednesday.
 
Tata, who was here to participate in the 11th convocation of the Great Lakes Institute of Management, also took some questions from the students.
 
Answering a question on the Nano car, Tata said the mistake was branding the model as the cheapest car instead of affordable car.
 
He said people did not want to be associated with a cheap car.
 
Brand Gurus had earlier expressed similar views to IANS and said a car in India is a status symbol and people do not want their car to be known as a cheap car.
 
Tata urged the graduates to focus on those things that make a difference to people and always ask themselves whether what they are doing is right.
 
Later speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the function Tata, the former chairman of the Tata group reiterated the same point on the Nano's branding strategy.
 
He said the small car was designed by people with an average age of 25-26 and was a success beyond expectations.
 
However, he said the one year delay in the car launch allowed rumours to float around about the car.
 
Tata who is investing in start-ups said he was looking at those outfits that would help the common man.
 
Stating that it is important to nurture start-ups and support them Tata also urged the entrepreneurs to be a long term player and build an institution than cashing out early.
 
According to Tata, he is keen on investing in health and connectivity sectors.
 
He said there is an opportunity in e-commerce and etailing in India which are expected to change the face of merchandising and marketing in the country.

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COMMENTS

MG Warrier

2 years ago

I look at the whole 'NANO' episode differently. Tata through NANO sent out a message that it was possible to produce a car that can be sold at Rs one lakh at that point of time. It made car manufacturers to answer several questions on costs and pricing, which was necessary at a time when prices were linked to luxury features, rather than usefulness or strength and quality of the vehicle. Tata is not a brand whose value will come down just because they produced 'cheapest' car!

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

2 years ago

Nano AC car when launched in the year 2010, it was costing Rs.1,90,000/-
Now several features like car to run on CNG, power steering, etc, has increased its cost to Rs.3,75,000/-, which is not affordable.

Pfizer to shut Thane plant in September
Pharma major Pfizer Ltd announced on Wednesday the shutting down of its Thane manufacturing plant from September 16 as it has become unviable, a company spokesperson said here.
 
"The decision to close the site is based on an assessment of its long term viability and its ability to achieve the needed production. There has practically been no production activity at this plant since 2013, and the closure will not impact the supply of any of our medicines to patients," the spokesperson said.
 
The plant was commissioned in the 1960s and was part of the company's heritage for over five decades.
 
During that time, the company, which notched a turnover of Rs.1004 crore last year, produced a number of medicines for both the domestic and international markets, serving millions of patients.
 
Pursuant to the closure decision, the company offered a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to 132 of its 212 workmen at the site last year, while the remaining continued to get full wages though the plant was inactive.
 
Pfizer Ltd said it would honour the obligations towards requisite compensation for the remaining 80 workmen as per the laws.
 
Pfizer is headquartered in Mumbai with over 4,000 employees in the country.

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