In our previous article, we told you lots of interesting facts that a tourist should know before entering Iran. Today we will acquaint you with the rules of conduct in the country and help you to avoid awkward situations and misunderstandings with locals:
1. In Iran, handshakes, slapping on the shoulder or friendly hugs are not common between people of the opposite sex. Publicly it is accepted to shake hands only among people of the same sex. However, if the Iranian himself takes the initiative, you can easily respond to the greeting.
Official behavior concerns to couples as well. You can hardly meet couples holding hands or hugging. And as a guest, you should respect this rule.
2. In Iran, the elders are particularly respected in all situations. The first thing that catches your attention is how the Iranians give way to the elders: first, they let older women, then the older men and the ones with higher status. These small details like expressing respect and modest behavior, characterize the whole nation. Here is another demonstration of respect: if an elder person enters the room, the Iranian will show his respect, standing upright. This rule works everywhere: whether it is a dinner in a restaurant, an important meeting or just a friendly hangout. The same rule works when the elder person leaves the room.
3. In Iran, it is not common to sit with your back to another person. This is considered bad behavior and if you have no other choice, you need to apologize. Moreover, the Iranians, even in the theater and the mosque, apologize for being impolite.
4. Walking through the markets of Iran, you can witness an unusual tradition of communication. When making purchases in the store, the seller can refuse to get the payment, explaining that this is a gift. A tourist will definitely take it seriously and leave with a gift. However, you should remember that it is a rule of etiquette and you should continue insisting on payment. You can face the same situation when paying for a taxi.
5. There is one interesting detail that you should pay attention to when dealing with the Iranians. Pay attention to by which hand local hands you something. A sign of respect is the presentation by the right hand, and if the Iranian gave you something with two hands, this is proof of special respect.
6. Another amazing unspoken rule of ta’arofu (the art of etiquette) is an invitation. A completely unfamiliar person can invite you to a visit to get acquainted with a family. However, by accepting his proposal, you can put the Iranian in an awkward situation. The fact is that most often this is a rule of politeness and a sign of good manner, therefore, you should refuse the proposal. Therefore, we advise you to be very attentive and try to understand whether the intentions of the Iranian are sincere or whether these are just polite words.
7. The Iranians are conditionally divided according to their social roles: leaders and people with status occupy particularly specific places, for example, at the head of the table at the meeting. At home, the head of the family always sits at the most important place. Therefore, if you are invited as a guest make sure you know where is your place to avoid embarrassing situations.