Gold bazaar on strike as merchants square off with government over tax hike
Los Angeles Times / Ramin Mostaghim

Tehran's main gold bazaar is usually glittering with precious baubles and jewelry fit for royalty, but the last several days have seen it shuttered and empty as the union of goldsmiths and jewelers strikes against a 3% value-added tax.

"We'll stay on strike until the negotiation gets results," Ali Mosavi, a goldsmith in the bazaar, told Babylon & Beyond. "This is the third year we are protesting and so far we have been able to resist [the tax hike]."

The strike appears to be affecting the retail and wholesale gold markets of Tehran's main bazaar as well as the markets of other Iranian cities like Esfahan, Mashhad and Tabriz, but not non-union jewelry stores outside the bazaars.

The government's economic committee issued a statement condemning the strike against the tax, which, it claims, will eliminate illegal transactions and money laundering in the gold market.

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