If you had to guess, what would the forbidden fruit actually taste like? If the food you had access to were restricted by the government—as it is in Iran—what would you be secretly yearning for?
Someone in Iran was betting that it might be that genteel Southern paragon and peddler of secret spices known as the Colonel. But, sad as it is to report, what appeared to be Iran's first Kentucky Fried Chicken was forced to close less than 24 hours after opening.
Proving to Theodore Roosevelt once and for all that skillful foreign diplomacy doesn't come at the end of a big drumstick, "the first American branch" of KFC Halal opened in Western Tehran last Sunday only to be closed by Tuesday for being "too American" in appearance. Although it received the proper approval from the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Mines prior to opening, a sign posted outside of the restaurant by local authorities stated that it would be "closed until further notice."
Iranian news agency Tasnim reports that the sign stated that the restaurant's décor too closely resembled the American flag and that it "can be seen as a part of American influence into Iranian culture." Tasnim also points out that, "The US is one of Iran's major enemies, and this will have grave dangers for the country."
True. History has indeed proven that both nations have a pretty damn venomous relationship.
Here's the thing though: the franchise appears to have been a knockoff. The real stripes and stars of Kentucky Fried Chicken—the one headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky—had never actually heard heard of Iran's KFC Halal.
The now-shuttered store's manager, Abbas Pazuki, reportedly stated, "We are part of a brand known as KFC Halal, which comes from Turkey. It belongs to Muslims and its target market is Muslim nations." He went on to say that KFC Halal was in fact a "rival of the American KFC." Wha! But what about their Double Down, Mighty Burger, and Mighty Combo? "The shutting down of KFC Halal was due to a misunderstanding," he says.
Wait, what the herbs and spices is going on here?
KFC spokesperson Laurie Schalow told Mashable, "We are shocked with the news that an illegitimate KFC outlet has opened in Tehran, Iran. 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."
The head of Iran's Trade Chamber, Ali Fazli, told the Iranian Labor News Agency that KFC Halal has absolutely "nothing to do" with its American counterpart. In fact, he stated that "no Western fast food has any branches in Iran."
In short, this Iranian KFC sounds a lot like McDowell's in Coming to America. And the people of Iran are still without the forbidden fruit that is the eight-piece bucket meal.
Forget about nuclear disarmament. We need to get some people working on America's fast food presence in Iran, ASAP.