DUBAI - Iran's smart set turned out in force for this year's Tehran Art Auction, spending a record amount as the country's modern and contemporary art scene thrives despite economic sanctions.

The annual event on Friday was a sell-out, raising $5.1 million from the auction of works by Iranian artists, more than double the amount fetched last year.

While Western sanctions since 2010 on Iran's oil and financial sectors have sapped Iranian collectors' purchasing power, and forced them to retreat from international art auctions such as Christie's, they have also been a catalyst to building up the domestic art market.

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