One Nation Under Sanctions

The big economic squeeze is taking its toll on Iran. But is it enough to change Tehran's mind on nukes?

Newsha Tavakolian / Polaris for TIME

Shoppers in Tehran's Bazaar, while this traditional shopping centre has lost ground to modern day shopping malls, it continues to be the nerve cenrte of Iran's economy. Wholetraders, middlemen and importers all have their offices here, above shops selling rugs, chinese made socks and home appliances.

On Tehran's western outskirts is Iran's first and only wholesale supermarket--a kind of Persian Walmart-Costco hybrid. Women push giant carts around on gleaming white floors, past rows of the latest Apple computers and Sony flat-screen televisions--perhaps contraband, perhaps fakes. They sift through racks stuffed with designer clothes and stock up on everything from Norwegian salmon to Old Spice cologne. Except for the chadors, this could be any suburb in the U.S.

Can this be the capital of a country suffering under the toughest sanctions in modern history? Shelves are stocked with everything from Crocs to Louis Vuitton bags. Construction is everywhere....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!