Etiquette in Iran

Iranians are generally quite forgiving of Westerners for any minor cultural transgressions – they don't expect you to know all of the rules. Some useful things to remember, however:

  •  Dress modestly. This applies to both men and women.
  •  Learn some Farsi before you go – a sure way to win local friends.
  •  Take some small gifts from home to repay the many small acts of kindness and hospitality you're likely to receive while in Iran.
  •  When invited to dinner take a tin of the local sweets (eg gaz in Esfahan).
  •  Take the time greet people you meet – greetings are important to Iranians and launching into conversation without a greeting is considered rude.
  •  Never use the thumbs up sign, which is the equivalent of the middle finger ‘up yours’.
  •  Men should not offer to shake a woman’s hand unless she offers first.
  •  Take off your shoes when entering a home or a mosque.
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