In Tehran anti-USA sentiments still run high with “Down with the USA” graffiti seen on some buildings. But when it comes to fast food feelings can be fooled.
In downtown Tehran it looks as if the world’s biggest fast food chain has opened up but a big yellow ‘M’ is actually inviting customers into Mash Donald’s with a menu including burgers, fries and falafel.
The owner believes it reminds his customers of visits to fast food restaurants on trips abroad. He hopes one day to run a McDonald’s franchise.
“They (McDonald’s and other US products) should be allowed to come here and people see that there is nothing strange about them. What is the reason for all the opposition? Nothing bad would happen. You are looking for a burger, try McDonald’s and if you like it, then you will choose this restaurant,” said Hassan Padiav owner of Mash Donald’s.
There are no genuine American fast food outlets in Iran where the anti US narrative remains strong. But if the nuclear agreement succeeds there are hopes among some Iranians they will have a chance to choose the real taste of America.
“After all, we have had economic dealings with the United States in the past. Americans are very interested in some Iranian goods and some American goods are popular with Iranians as well. The popularity of these brands and this background can be helpful,” said Mohsen Jalalpour, Head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.
McDonald’s has launched an online application form for those interested in franchise opportunities in the Islamic Republic but stressed it has “not set a firm date” for development. The Big Mac, along with other US businesses must wait.