Iranian Merchants Protest in Solidarity with Striking Truckers

Merchants in cities all over Iran, including Tehran, Arak, Sanandaj, Tabriz, Mashhad, and Zanjan, have closed their shops since October 8 in solidarity with truck drivers who have been striking since September 22 against low pay and high costs and road-usage fees.

The sharp drop in the value of the rial against the dollar and a volatile gold market forced jewelers to close their stores in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Shiraz.

Many people have been urging merchants and shopkeepers to protest in a show of support for the striking truckers.

Reza Pahlavi, the leader of the National Council of Iran (NCI), an umbrella group of exiled opposition to the Islamic Republic, expressed his support for the striking drivers in a tweet on September 26: “The nationwide strike by the courageous truck drivers who are demanding their rights serves as a good model for peaceful civil disobedience. The negative impact of the regime’s incompetence and corrupt nature is evident in every aspect of people’s lives. Every Iranian is duty-bound to support this progressive movement. A fight for our civil rights, #we are all in this together.”

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi