On Wednesday, police used tear gas to disperse protesters around Tehran's grand bazaar as the country's currency, the rial, continued its free-fall. Officials then closed the bazaar for what were described as security reasons. The location of the protests was no accident: Iran's bazaars have long held a special place in Iranian culture, and recently they've also become gathering spots for strikers and demonstrators intent on highlighting the regime's economic instability. As tension builds in sanction-riddled Iran, here's a look inside Tehran's vibrant marketplaces.
Above, Iranian riot police stand next to a garbage container set on fire by protesters in central Tehran near the main bazaar on Oct. 3. This protest is one of the first signs of public unrest over Iran's plunging currency. The rial lost more than half of its value since last week, and the plunge has greatly increased inflation in Iran, which is widely seen as far higher than the official 23.5 percent reported by the central bank.