Reza rented a small storefront on a pedestrian mall along the route to a popular shrine in Tehran's working-class southern fringe. He hawks T-shirts, souvenirs, incense and, with the Iranian New Year approaching, fireworks. He says business conditions are "rubbish." He sells little.
Chicken and beef have almost doubled in price in the past few weeks, he says. His family has all but stopped eating those. His wife buys chicken livers. They're cheaper.
He has tried raising prices in his own store. Playing cards just went to 1,500 rials from 1,000—or to about seven cents, from five cents. Sales fell. "People just don't have the money," he says.