When you write a thank-you letter to the President...AND YOU GET INVITED TO THE WHITEHOUSE!

The letter is posted below. The invitation is for the Persian New Year or, Nowruz, celebration. It is next week. I-am-so-excited is an understatement. I hope to get some good pictures but, I don't know if I'm allowed. Wish me luck!

January 17, 2016

Dear President Obama,

Thank you! I am incredibly grateful for your bold leadership with engaging Iran and implementing this historic nuclear agreement. 


I would like to share with you how this agreement has effected my family. In 2001 my husband, Bamdad, and I started a business importing a very rare type of Persian rug almost entirely unknown to anyone, made from felt. In Iran, the tradition is known as, namad. It has been practiced by Central Asian nomads for thousands of years. After traveling throughout Iran researching and establishing relationships, we built a very successful small business with a flagship store in San Francisco and a workshop near Esfahan that made felt rugs that I designed.

When the sanctions on rugs were put in place we were faced with closure or relocation of production. We chose the latter and Bamdad flew to Istanbul with no leads. He ended up staying for three years. We basically had to start over in a country whose language we did not speak. Our son, Rahim, and I joined Bamdad a year later in Konya and I took on the job of translator. While we were living in Turkey, we followed the news of the nuclear talks very closely. When it looked like the sanctions had a chance of being lifted, we made plans to move the production back to Iran. Having our workshop located in Iran is a source of great pride for us and we are still pinching ourselves that this has come to pass.

 My personal story aside, the JCPOA is an astonishing achievement and it gives me hope for our collective futures. Leadership that takes a long view and can get through the political hurdles, as your administration has done, is even more rare than Persian felt rugs. Congratulations are in order. I am a huge fan of Michelle and I wanted to send her and your lovely family a rug as a gift but, I was told that that is frowned upon. I hope that when you furnish your next home you will consider purchasing a Peace Industry rug with the friend and family discount. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. 

most sincerely,

Melina Raissnia

founder/lead designer

Peace Industry