Grand Bazaar in Tehran by Ghajarboys.
Traders in the Grand Bazaar of Tehran, and bazaars in other major Iranian cities such as Tabriz, Isfahan and Mashad, went on strike for around two weeks in protest over a new 3% sales tax – or value added tax (VAT).
The government suspended the law, and some reports indicate that the bazaars are back to business as usual, while others are saying the the strikes have continued.
Strikes in Iran are quite rare , and there are no legal trade unions in the country. Several Iranian bloggers talked about this event. Some commented, others just reported what they saw.
Ghajarboys shares his photos (above) from Tehran's Grand Bazaar and says [fa]:
Today [12th of October] I went to Tehran's Bazaar and I found out all shops are closed but merchants are present in the Bazaar and are waiting for news…. One of them told me that they are really angry now because a newspaper called them smugglers!… it seems that the strike is happening because merchants and traders do not believe that suspending the tax law for two months is enough.
Cherikonline writes [fa] that shops were shut down in the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on the 12th of October and that security forces were present everywhere.
Khiyalat says [fa] about Isfahan's strike:
I think it is more about the political situation in Iran rather than the economic decision and maybe also people's dissatisfaction [with government] is transformed into a civil protest movement… there was also a demonstration in Isfahan where people chanted slogans such as “Forget Palestine and think about us” and “We do not want justice!”
Both of these slogans refer to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's slogans. He promised to establish justice in the country and supports the Palestinian militant party, Hamas.
Ma Hameh Khobim writes [fa] that in Isfahan, security forces arrested a prominent merchant but freed him after a few days.
Hamed Talebi, a pro-Ahmadinejad blogger, says in his Khabarnegar Mosalman (means Muslim reporter) blog [fa]:
Some traders who were provoked by a few big capitalists started going on strike despite the Government's promise to suspend the law for two months. The Government asked traders to share their ideas on this issue too… We have resisted military attacks, and terrorism… it is pity that we can not resist a few thugs.