Social Codes for Prospective Visitors to Iran
For those who are planning to visit Iran here are some of the social codes which may be of interest to them:
- Shaking hands with the opposite sex might be a bit unusual. it’s better to wait for your opposite to initiate the gesture if you are unsure.
- Same sex people mostly embrace each other as a way of greeting, opposite sex rarely do this (at least in public), but in younger generations it is becoming more common. 3 kisses on the cheeks are another way of greeting in Iran.
- A minimally accepted dress for women is a scarf to cover their hair, a loose long sleeved shirt and trousers. as long as you don’t ware something eye-catching you should be fine, the police rarely warns tourists.
- In summer months, linen is a good choice as it gets really warm in most areas of Iran.
- If offered something by someone, it is common to refuse it first and only when insisted accept it; this is part of the ‘taarof’, which is very common in the Persian culture. Not all offers are serious and you will get a feel of the vibes before accepting an apparent invitation. A foreign visitor of ours once accepted an offer to “Come inside for tea” by an Iranian family and only after she entered their homes did she realize that they were not in a position to have her and it was only a ‘taarof’!!
- Drinking or having alcohol is prohibited in Iran.
- Most public transports in Iran have different compartments for men and women, we advise using the designated ones for your self. it is usual for women to use the men’s compartment but the opposite is really rarely done.
- Many Iranians don’t wear shoes in their homes, they take out their shoes outside and use a slipper, socks or bare foot to walk around the house. It is best to respect this when you enter a Persian home and most people who don’t follow this rule will let you know.