If you’ve been following the news this past year, you know that President Obama spent much of it pushing for a nuclear deal with Iran, which finally came to fruition in July.
Those who were in favor of the deal have pointed out its many benefits; but the deal’s many critics claim that it is wholly ineffective as it doesn’t completely dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and may possibly embolden the nation to continue deceiving the US and other world powers.
Well, it looks like the backlash to the deal isn’t just limited to Israeli and American politicians, but Iranians as well. And this past week, the growing Anti-American animosity in Iran took on a seemingly unexpected target: KFC.
That’s right, a KFC restaurant (branded as KFC Halal) that opened in Tehran on Sunday didn’t last much more than a day before being summarily shuttered. Despite the fact that the restaurant had apparently gotten approval from Iran’s Ministry of Industry, and had seemingly welcomed many happy customers, according to photos on its website and Instagram page, by Tuesday, Tehran’s first KFC was no more.
A photo posted by kfciran (@kfciranian) on
So, what exactly happened?
Well, for one thing, the government apparently had a change of heart. After the closure was enforced by Iranian Police, the reason given was that the restaurant’s decor too closely resembled the U.S. flag, and its presence “can be seen as a part of American influence into Iranian culture. …The U.S. is one of Iran’s major enemies and this will have grave dangers for the country.” (To be fair, KFC could pose grave dangers to the country, but probably not the kind they were implying.)
But the restaurant’s manager denies that government intervention or Anti-American sentiment were behind the closure, and that it was all a “misunderstanding.” In fact, he said, the Iranian KFC has nothing to do with American KFC at all, and is in fact one of its rivals. “We are part of a brand known as Halal KFC, which comes from Turkey,” the manager, Abbas Pazuki, said. “It belongs to Muslims and its target market is Muslim nations.”
This claim of having nothing to do with the “real” KFC seems to be completely supported by KFC execs in the US. A spokesperson for the company told Mashable:
So what’s really at play here? Was the closure part of a broader wave of Anti-American sentiment that is sweeping Iran? After all, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian still remains incarcerated on charges of espionage. A billboard recently popped up in Tehran mocking the flag raising at Iwo Jima by US Marines. And Ayatollah Khamenei said this week that the “Death to America” slogan is “is backed by reason and wisdom.” So, yeah. Things don’t seem altogether great.
But is that why the KFC Halal was closed? If so, nobody seems to be fully admitting it. Ali Fazli, identified as Head of the Trade Chamber of Iran by the Iranian News Labor Agency, has even said that the branch had “nothing to do” with its American namesake. “No Western fast food has any branches in Iran,” he said.
So maybe that’s not really the reason. And maybe we’ll never know what the actual one is. Either way, we can’t really blame these guys for trying to open a KFC knock-off. After all, the Colonel himself once did the exact same thing.