Iranian Tipping Protocol, Iranian Gratuities, & Iranian Culture
- DO understand that women are expected to wear loose clothing covering everything but their hands, face, and feet. Female travelers in Iran are also expected to abide by this dress code. In homes, Western-style clothing is acceptable.
- DO wear pants and short-sleeved shirts if you are man. However, long-sleeves may protect you from the sun better.
- DO dress conservatively for business occasions. Ties are not traditionally worn by Iranian men but they are not looked down upon.
- DO note that in some homes meals are served on the floor without eating utensils, but in more modern homes meals will be served on a table with a spoon and fork.
- DON'T sit until told where to sit.
- DON'T use your left hand while eating.
- DO try a little bit of everything and expect to be offered seconds and even thirds!
- DO understand that refusals are considered polite and not taken seriously, so if you don't want more food you will likely have to insist.
- DO understand that restaurants will often have two sections: "family" and "men only." "Family" is for women and their families.
- DO leave a little bit of food on your plate to indicate that you are done eating.
- DO note that alcohol is illegal under most circumstances.
- DO wrap a gift nicely.
- DON'T open a gift immediately.
- DON'T give overly lavish gifts. Pens, art, home decor, or something from your home country are generally appreciated.
Visting Someone's Home
- DO bring flowers or desserts for your hosts.
- DO arrive on time. Lateness could be considered rude.
- DO look to see if your host is wearing shoes. If they are not, take yours off before entering.
- DO accept food or drink.
- DO make appointments at least a month in advance and confirm a week before.
- DON'T be late!
- DO have all written business materials and business cards translated into Farsi.
- DON'T take your suit jacket off without permission.
- DO be patient. Decisions are made slowly and Iranians can be tough businesspeople. They may get angry, storm out, or threaten to end the business relationship in order to get their way. Negotiations might be quite long.
- DON'T be forceful or use pressure tactics. It may wind up working against you.
Visiting Places of Worship
- DO understand that in order to visit a mosque or holy shrine, women should wear a chador before entering. Chadors are sort of like cloaks. If you don't have a chador, sometimes there are kiosks where you can rent one.
- DO wear long-sleeved shirts when visiting a mosque or holy shrine if you are a man.
- DO remove your shoes before entering a prayer area of a mosque.
- DON'T take photos of a mosque while people are praying.
- DO ask before entering a room at a holy site, because some places forbid non-Muslims to enter.
- DO understand that since conservative men and women do not socialize together, greetings are done only among members of the same sex. Because of this, wait for the member of the opposite sex to put their hand out for a handshake before shaking hands.
- DO shake hands upon greeting or greet with an affectionate kiss.
- DO greet by saying "salaam" which means peace.
- DON'T criticize Islam or the Iranian government.
- DO discuss soccer (football) because it's very popular in Iran.
- DO ask about family, but don't be too intrusive.
Our Iranian Tipping Recommendations
- Taxis and Limos: Tipping not required
- Airport Shuttles: Tipping not required
- Hotel Shuttles and Carpark Shuttles: Tipping not required