Reports from Tehran indicate that the strikes by bazaari merchants that started last week have spread significantly, shutting down many parts of Tehran bazaar. The merchants were protesting a dramatic 70% increase in their income tax. The strikes started in the Fabrics Bazaar on Tuesday of last week and soon spread to Gold Bazaar and others.
Meanwhile the government has unexpectedly declared a two-day holiday in the capital without giving any reasons for its action. Observers speculate the reason for the unscheduled holiday was an attempt to downplay the effects of a massive strike in Tehran Bazaar.
UPDATE: Tehran Bazaar remained closed on Wednesday, a day after the government-imposed holiday in the city ended. Reports from Tehran indicate that the shops between Sabzemeydan and the bazaar itself are all closed. The government had increased the tax on Bazaar merchants by 70%. Later under pressure from the bazaaris, the minister of commerce announced that taxes would only increase by 15% over last year’s. Today’s continued strikes indicate that the lower figure has not ended the controversy.