Iran’s judiciary warns gold merchants over strike

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran authorities have threatened to take legal action against gold merchants in Tehran’s main bazaar if they don’t call off their two-week-old anti-tax strike, local media reported Thursday.

Iran’s government has been trying to find ways to boost revenue — including by raising taxes — amid low oil prices and other woes that have hampered the country’s ailing economy. But it has had to be cautious in the face of widespread public discontent.

Several newspapers, including the state-owned Jamejam and the Donya-e Eqtesad economic daily, quoted Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi as saying the “judiciary will confront whoever disturbs public order by closing the bazaar.” He did not elaborate.

Tehran’s gold merchants began their strike in September to protest a government plan to impose a 3 percent sales tax. Iran suspended the tax in 2008 after a rare strike by merchants, who fear it could lead to more income tax in the future.

Experts say the tax will make the merchants’ income more transparent.


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