In Iran’s Grand Bazaar, no one can afford to talk politics

Its covered galleries and courtyards are the beating heart of Iran’s ancient merchant economy – but for traders in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, it has been a frustratingly slow holiday season.   

“It’s normal for sales to be up at this time of year because of Nowruz, and it is busier than usual – but not as much as we hoped or expected,” said Pejman, a 28-year-old trader who sells shirts out of a cramped rented shop space in a part of the labyrinth dedicated to men’s clothes. “People just aren’t spending as much.”

Of all the challenges facing President Hassan Rouhani’s reformist government, the economy is probably its biggest headache.

Hassan Rouhani chairs a cabinet meeting in December. His reformist administration is struggling to manage economic difficulties that some Iranian officials blame on Donald Trump 


Three years since he agreed to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in…

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