The city of Javanrood is located in Kermanshah province, about 85km east of the capital and close to the Iran-Iraq border. The city is home to many Sunni Muslims who speak Sorani Kurdish as a first language. It has for its stunning backdrop a vast mountain range beyond which lies the village of Darbandikhan in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Between the two is the Sheikh Saleh border crossing: a key facilitator of trade between the two sides. Locals say most of these goods are transported across the border by kolbars, then smuggled into Javanrood bazaar in the backs of trucks and cars.

Business in Javanrood bazaar has boomed in recent years, writes a visiting citizen journalist for IranWire. The now almost 24/7 market is home to some 400 stalls selling various commodities: audio and video equipment, home appliances, health and beauty products, clothing, food, textiles, hunting and mountaineering equipment, mobile accessories and toys.

One local seller tells IranWire there are more than 80 cosmetics stands alone. “The customer is mostly looking for cheap goods here," he says. "If we offer an original brand of mascara for 180,000 tomans ($6.50) they’ll reject it and go for the fake-branded one ($1.28).”

Although the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic has banned the import of Korean home appliances such as LG and Samsung, all these brands and more can be found at Javanrood.

This article was written by a citizen journalist in Kermanshah under a pseudonym.

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