The supreme leader of Iran went off about American influence in his country, saying that even with a newly struck nuclear deal, they will “block all attempts of penetration of Iran.”
Much of the concern seems to revolve around American culture seeping into Iran — like the knockoff fast food restaurants that have popped up in the country.
“We thought that they would bring Boeing technology, but they want to bring McDonald’s,” Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said last week, according to the Times.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that restaurants like Mash Donald’s, Kabooki Fried Chicken, and Pizza Hat have recently been spotted in and around Tehran.
Imitations of popular American restaurants exist because, while there is an appetite in Iran for American food, the government’s attitude toward the US makes it nearly impossible for any genuine American food franchise to operate there.
But there’s been hope that that might soon change.
The Times’ Tehran bureau chief Thomas Erdbrink wrote that an agreement world powers reached to limit Iran’s capacity to acquire a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief could “possibly portend a change in Iranian revolutionary attitudes toward American companies.”
Not if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has anything to do with it. Iran’s supreme leader gave a speech at his office complex and sent out tweets this week to decry this possibility:
We waste no efforts to shut ways of infiltration into the country.We’ll allow neither economic, nor political, nor cultural intrusion of US.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 17, 2015
Other Iranian officials seem open to increased relations with the US, the Times notes.
And many everyday Iranians seem open to American influence as well. The Times points out that other American brands — like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Crest — are already popular there.
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