• Kyodo

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Iran failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup finals, but is nevertheless trying to make its presence felt. The country hopes to display in Japan and South Korea a newly woven Persian carpet to mark the soccer championship.

Raja Travel and Tours, an Iranian travel agency, commissioned the carpet. It says it hopes to display the carpet in Seoul, the venue for the May 31 opening match, and in Yokohama, venue for the June 30 championship.

Akbar Mohammad Pour, president of Raja Travel, said carpet weavers in Tabriz spent five months executing the 70-color World Cup carpet. The ancient town, known for its tapestry work, is in northern Iran.

The 2.3 × 2 meter carpet is 90 percent silk and 10 percent wool. It is dominated by a huge stadium in the center, with the Yokohama and Seoul stadiums serving as props under the center stadium.

The national flags of the 32 teams playing in this year’s World Cup finals line the two vertical sides of the carpet. Each flag is flanked by small soccer balls, the number of which represents the number of times that country has competed in the World Cup finals.

The names of the host countries and the logos of each of the 16 World Cup tournaments are woven on the top and the bottom of the carpet.

“The carpet embraces the entire World Cup history,” Pour said, noting that the carpet, if put on the market, could fetch $200,000.

Pour said his company also commissioned a World Cup Persian carpet to mark the 1998 World Cup tournament in France. The Iranian government later presented the carpet to France.

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