Tehran Bazaar Strike
"With shops that sell everything from herbs and spices to carpets and gems now firmly closed, Tehran’s Grand Bazaar is on strike with merchants warning that higher taxes could force them to shut down for good.
"The usually bustling corridors of the centuries old market, known as 'Iran’s economic pulse', have been deserted for the past week in a standoff between the hard-line government and merchants. Some shops were draped with black banners in protest.
"Work stoppages are rare in Iran but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to raise the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods set off a strike that merchants have threatened to extend despite a government offer to suspend the increase...
"Iran’s economy is over 60 percent dependent on oil income and the sharp fall in oil prices threatens its finances. The government had hoped to fill the shortfall by increasing tax.
"The tax forms part of wider economic reforms planned by the government, including a bill that will end subsidies on energy and food."
The government has declared a holiday in a probable attempt to disguise the strike.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)