Iranian art auction booming despite sanctions

In this photo taken on Sunday, May 10, 2015, cars drive under a billboard showing copies of two paintings "The Son of Man" by the Belgian painter René Magritte, right, and a painting by late Iranian painter Sohrab Sepehri, over a highway in Tehran, Iran. (AP)

Despite sanctions on Iranian that hang over the Islamic Republic before a final settlement on its nuclear deal is reached, a Friday art auction in the capital Tehran showed that it was business as usual, UK paper The Guardian reported.

This year’s iteration of the auction, where modern and contemporary Iranian artworks consistently fetch high prices, made nearly double of previous predictions, reaching $6.6 mln.

“It exceeded our expectations,” a spokeswoman for the auction told the Guardian. “We had buyers both from inside and outside Iran.”

Although the Islamic Republic’s banking system is internal as sanctions prohibit the country being part of the global finance network, foreign bidders could still participate due to local intermediaries paying of their behalf, the spokeswoman added.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Iran and six world powers resumed negotiations on its nuclear program on Thursday, the Iranian state news agency IRNA said, seeking to overcome remaining differences with a self-imposed June 30 deadline looming to end a 12-year standoff.

A framework accord was reached between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China on April 2, but several major substantive disputes remain to be resolved including access for U.N. nuclear inspectors to Iranian military sites and the pace and timing of sanctions relief for Tehran.

Iran denies any ambition to develop a nuclear arms capability, saying it has been enriching uranium only for peaceful electricity and medical isotopes.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44