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Doing Business in Iran / Iranian Social and Business Culture An Iranian Culture Overview Fact file o o o Official name – Islamic Republic of Iran Population - 66,429,284 (July 2008 est.) Official Languages - Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkish and Turkish dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2% Currency - Iranian rial (IRR) Capital City – Tehran GDP - $842 billion (2007 est.) GDP per capita - $12,800 (2007 est.)

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Overview Located in the centre of Eurasia on the Silk Road and bordering several important Middle Eastern states, Iran has been influenced by many different cultures and traditions throughout history. Despite these different influences, Iran remains a conservative Muslim theocracy. Today, Iran is the second biggest oil producer in the world and attracts a lot of international investment. Any organisation wishing to conduct business successfully with Iran needs to understand and consider the mixture of traditional and modern influences which impact Iranian business and social culture. Iranian Culture – Key Concepts and Values Islam – Approximately 98% of the Iranian population is Muslim and adheres to the Shi'a branch of Islam making it the only Shi’ite theocracy in the world. Iran is a conservative society where Islamic traditions and values play an important role in everyday life. These traditions also affect business, so it is important to be aware of them when doing business with your Iranian colleagues. Indirect Communication – Iranians tend to have a very indirect communication style and rely heavily on nonverbal cues and figurative forms of speech. This is a means of saving face when communicating and maintaining individual honour. This aspect of Iranian culture has to be carefully considered when doing business, because a direct refusal, for example, can be interpreted as rude and impolite. Hospitality – As in many other Middle Eastern countries, hospitality is a key value in Iranian...
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