There is no question that the modern felt rugs designed by Melina Raissina for her Hayes Valley shop, Peace Industry, are beautiful. There is no question they are very coveted objet d'arts. There is, however, a lot of bewilderment as to why the US sanctions against Iran—where the rugs are made in accordance with centuries-old traditions—include a ban on these imports, thereby forcing Peace Industry to close its doors this month.
Besides Raissina and her husband, Dodd, a native of Iran, the many heartfelt Iranian artisans they employ will lose their livelihood, innocent victims of an ill-conceived punishment against, yes, a badly behaved political regime. Letters urging our goverment representatives to make an exception to the rug embargo have been written to congress and even to the President, and one has to wonder if Obama, Pelosi and Boxer have even heard these pleas. Likely, they have fallen on deaf ears. So, our tough-guy political strategy impedes an important cultural/humanitarian exchange between two strong-willed nations. What else is new?