Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gold Merchants Strike in Iran

The bad news keeps piling on for the Iranian mullahs.  All they need now is for a revival movement among Zoroastrians aimed at restoration of their religion’s primacy which is a creditable enterprise.

The Bazaars in revolt has often been the final straw for a failing regime.  This item tells us that it has gotten bad.

Much as we in the West see a real need for regime change, a wiser course is slowly emerging to simply wait out the imploding theocracy whose failure is apparent to all.  I brought up the issue of Zoroaster here because actual attendance at the Friday services at the mosques have effectively collapsed, spelling out a collapse of faith driven support. 

This regime can die with camera images of mullahs fleeing angry mobs

Gold Merchants Strike in Iran

Posted by Ryan Mauro on Oct 12th, 2010

Ryan Mauro is the founder of, National Security Advisor to the Christian Action Network, and an intelligence analyst with the Asymmetric Warfare and Intelligence Center.

A protest by merchants selling gold and jewelry in Iran’s bazaar marketplaces will start its fourth week on Wednesday, triggered by the regime’s plan to add a tax of three percent on them. Discontent in the bazaars helped set the stage for the overthrow of the Shah and so the regime is looking at this challenge with great unease. The regime is finding itself in a worse position as each day passes by.

The proposed tax is causing an outrage among the gold merchants. As oneexplained, “Today one gold coin was $326. I buy it for $324 from the bank and with a $2 marginal profit I sell it on the retail market. If the VAT [value-added tax] is applied my customer would pay $326 plus $10 as a VAT to me and if he needs to cash the coin next week, he has to sell it at the same price he has bought it [for] or even for $2 less.”

The gold merchants in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar took action by shutting their doors, sparking a strike that has spread to major bazaars around the country. In Mashhad, over 100 gold merchants staged a public protest. Aware that the shutting down of the bazaars was a precursor to the fall of the Shah, the regime is panicking. In Kermanshah, regime thugs tried to force the merchants into opening for business and damaged their shops. Several merchants who fought back were arrested. Other merchants are said to be joining them. The top prosecutor is now threatening them, calling them “economic saboteurs,” an offense that sounds a lot like treason, which carries the penalty of death.

This is the second major confrontation between the regime and the bazaar merchants in less than six months. In July, bazaar shops around Iran closed after it was reported that a 70 percent tax increase was on the way. The government said it was an error and that the tax was only 30 percent. The strikes continued to grow and according to one report, about 500 merchants went beyond complaining just about the tax and called for a “death to dictatorship.” Shops were raided by the security forces, and one merchant died of a stab wound on July 7. Ultimately, the regime backed down but not without permanently creating bad blood with the bazaar merchants.

The loyalty of the merchants has been crucial to the regime’s survival as it loses support from its people. As the Associated Press mentions, “For decades, the ruling theocracy has counted on the thousands of bazaar families and businesses as some of their most stalwart backers.” To make matters worse for the regime, companies continue to make the decision that operating in Iran isn’t worth the cost of potentially being sanctioned by the U.S., the E.U., and other countries. Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Eni and Statoil have agreed not to make any further investments in Iran, although the sincerity of Royal Dutch Shell and Total is being questioned. Companies in Kuwait, Russia, India and Turkey have promised not to sell gasoline to Iran, and the end of money transfers to Iran by most banks in the United Arab Emirates is particularly stinging.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thats a very interesting news.

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