The KFC-branded restaurant opened on Saturday night in Tehran before authorities shut it down just one day later.
Fried chicken fans in Iran were able to sample KFC Halal for a very short period of time. Iranian news agency Tasnim said the restaurant was “the first American branch” of its kind, that was opened after apparently being granted permission from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Mines.
KFC Halal shut down by authorities in Iran
Pictures of happy customers lining up in store were published on the KFC Halal website and Instagram account, but by Tuesday the restaurant had been shut down by authorities. A sign appeared on the door told disappointed Iranians that the restaurant would be “closed until further notice” because it was decorated in a manner that closely resembled the U.S. flag.
According to Tasnim the decor “can be seen as a part of American influence into Iranian culture.” The report told readers that “the U.S. is one of Iran’s major enemies and this will have grave dangers for the country.”
However all may not be as it seems. Store manager Abbas Pazuki told the press that “the shutting down of Halal KFC was due to a misunderstanding.”
“We are part of a brand known as Halal KFC, which comes from Turkey. It belongs to Muslims and its target market is Muslim nations,” he said. According to Pazuki that KFC is a “rival of the American KFC.”
KFC says outlet has nothing to do with chain
“We are shocked with the news that an illegitimate KFC outlet has opened in Tehran, Iran,” Laurie Schalow, a KFC spokesperson, told Mashable. “No franchise rights have been granted to any party in Iran. We are in contact with local authorities and external advisers and will be filing a legal action against any company or individuals claiming to have rights to open KFC.”
Ali Fazli, Head of the Trade Chamber of Iran, confirmed that KFC Halal has “nothing to do” with the KFC found all over the world. “No Western fast food has any branches in Iran,” he said.
Although the successful signing of a deal on nuclear weapons may suggest that relations between Iran and the West are improving, Iranian hardliners have shown little willingness to embrace Western culture. They say it represents “behavior contrary to Islamic-Iranian culture and traditions.”
Ayatollah Khomeini has stated that the operation of Western restaurants represents a red line that will not be broken.