Amid tightening economic sanctions on Iran, Israelis are flocking to purchase Iranian marble, the Yediot Ahronot daily reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, marble quarried in Iran is abundant in dozens of home renovation stores, primarily in Tel Aviv, and is considered a favorite for its high quality.
To avoid violating Israeli law, which strictly forbids any commercial dealings with the Islamic republic, local merchants are placing orders via Turkish middlemen who have partnered with Iranian outfits. The slabs of crude marble are cut and polished in Turkey prior to their shipping to Israel, the report said.
"No one approaches the Iranians directly," said Eran Siv, head of the Israeli Renovation Contractors Association and owner of a marble supply firm. "The Turks label the goods as theirs, but everyone knows it is Iranian."
One of Israel's largest marble suppliers said the Iranian stone has "become a hit," with an estimated millions of dollars in revenues flowing from the country to Iran per annum.
"Israelis are crazy about this special stone, and the importers don't want to relinquish the livelihood," he told Yediot Ahronot.
Israel has taken center stage in the calls to slap Iran with harsher economic sanctions, mainly imposed by Washington, which have so far failed to convince Tehran to halt its presumed nuclear weapons program. A dramatic depreciation of the Iranian rial and other financial woes recently forced thousands of Iranians to take to the street to protest against their government's policies.