Lesson learned by the mullahs: Don’t mess with the bazaar merchants. They’ll eat you alive.
The bazaar merchants in Tehran (and two other cities) went on strike after the government proposed a 70 percent tax increase on them. The regime then backed down to 30 percent (with some reports falsely implying they backed off the increase altogether) and the strikes continued for 12 days. The merchants and the regime have now agreed upon a 15 percent increase, causing most merchants to end the strike on July 17 and the last gold and textile merchants to sell again on July 18.
This doesn’t mean all is well with the bazaars. They aren’t going to like the tax increase, they probably just needed to go back to business. And if the reports are true that the security forces used violence and intimidation to try to force them to open their doors, killing one merchant and reportedly smashing the products of others, then they will remain opposed to the regime and open to joining a general strike.
Update: Michael Ledeen reports that the bazaars in Tehran, Isfahan and Tabriz have remained closed and strikes are spreading into East Azerbaijan. He also says that the bazaar in Mashhad is partly closed.