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Politics

Tehran Bazar Shopkeepers Threatened Amid Calls For Strike

December 6, 2022
2 min read
A shopkeeper said security forces threatened shopkeepers they were not allowed to close before 4 p.m.
A shopkeeper said security forces threatened shopkeepers they were not allowed to close before 4 p.m.

Sanaz Biglari, Citizen Journalist, Tehran

Following calls for a three-day nationwide strike across Iran, the Tehran bazar was practically closed on December 5 despite harsh measures imposed by the military and security forces.

Security agents stationed on 15 Khordad Square and Nasser Khosro since early in the morning prevented some shops from shutting their doors. However, most businesses inside the bazar were closed.

An IranWire citizen journalist went to Tehran's bazar to interviewed witnesses.

***

Today, December 5, business owners in Tehran's bazar first opened their shops in the morning. Some of them planned to shut the doors at 10 a.m. as during previous strikes, but the heavy presence of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) prevented them to do so.

According to a shopkeeper on 15 Khordad Street, security forces threatened shopkeepers from early in the morning that they were not allowed to close before 4 p.m. He said that at 9 a.m., many plainclothes security forces members and Revolutionary Guards were there, divided in 10-people groups stationed 50 meters apart: "When I arrived in the morning at the 15 Khordad Street, it was like I had entered a cemetery; it was dead, no shop was open."

"I had never seen the Tehran bazar like this morning. My big mistake was to raise the shop shutters…I didn't think I would be threatened after opening the shop."

He explains that after lifting the shop shutters, a plainclothes security agent told him, “You are not allowed to close before four o'clock in the afternoon”. The agent said the shop would be “immediately” sealed if he disobeyed.

His colleagues on Nasser Khosro Street were issued the same threat, he said, adding that most shops in the bazar are closed despite the massive presence of security forces on 15 Khordad Street.

A vendor in Nasser Khosro Street said some shopkeepers closed at 10 a.m. as planned and that about half of the stores were closed since the beginning of the morning.

This young vendor, who claims to be a former Revolutionary Guard, says the forces stationed in Tehran bazar are members of the IRGC’s Mohammad Rasulollah Corps.

According to him, one of the shopkeepers wanted to lower the shutters at around 11 a.m., but three plainclothes agents treated him: "I heard his voice shouting. He said, 'I am just a vendor, do whatever you want, the owner of the shop called and told me to close the shop'."

Videos sent by Tehrani citizens to IranWire show that most of the shops inside the bazar were closed, but not those located on the main streets.

The protests triggered by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police are the most widespread in Iranian history.

On the 40th day since Amini’s death, the Tehran bazar witnessed violent clashes between the shopkeepers and security forces.

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