Few years ago you hardly saw any foreigners in Tehran or the airports much less Chinese. Now seeing Chinese in Iran and the airport is a common site! I saw a Chinese man at the airport asking the plastic wrapper to wrap his samovar in the box. I never understood why you’d pay for plastic wrapping when the airport security at the next stop or airport could unwrap it and leave your luggage all torn up!
Last year I saw a few Chinese and I did ask them whether they’re there for visiting or business and they said business. As you know China is among 11 countries (including India and South Korea) who are exempt from the sanctions, as long as they reduce their oil exports from Iran by 18%. So China used the opportunity and expanded other businesses. The photos you see in this blog are Chinese cars roaming Tehran and country roads in Iran. Sanctions!
As part of this auto expansion in Iran the Chinese companies have agreed and are providing dealerships, parts and repair services in Iran’s ten major cities. I don’t even know the name of these cars as they don’t carry a name you usually associate with a car. The ones you see here are names MVM, JAC or some acronyms, people refer to them as just Chinese cars!
It used to be that certain things were known to be good from certain countries like leather or shoes from Italy, raincoats from London, cars from Germany, tools from America, appliances from Japan, now everything is Made in China! Even in the super popular TV series Paytakht the new wife of one of the main characters is Chinese who is introduced towards the end of the 3rd season! The 4th season of Paytakht starts in mid-June (mah ramezoon) and I’d highly recommend watching it as it’s very funny! Each season has about 12 – 13 episodes and you can find them on youtube.
As moderate President Rouhani took over the presidency from the hardline president Ahmadinejad (pronounced Ah-I-need-a-job :-) is looking to continue reforms that were stopped after the Reformist President Khatami left office, where am I going with this what does it have to do with the topic at hand, oh sorry folks just trying to trigger allergies of the usual suspects … let’s move on :-)
Chinese Businessmen/women are in all restaurants and actually getting Iranian attitudes and their temper tantrums! In one “international” restaurant that I’ll write about in another blog, the Chinese customers were bitching loudly about why the host is not mentioning China first and when he did they roared with applause and standing up with a few Iranian dance moves, changing bulbs with hand and some hip action with Chinese flavor i.e. stiff upper hip action!
While we are on the subject of cars, ten years ago there were only few choices like Paykan, Pride, Peugeot, later Samand and 2 or 3 other models. Now in addition to these Chinese cars there are many choices. I’d say the variety is at or above what we had during the Shah so even though we stepped away from the Gateways of Great Civilization (as he called them) we’re back in it with vengeance when it comes to luxury cars! In addition to China, Germany is partly exempt from sanctions and Porsche has established dealerships (one of the pics in the blog) with parts and services around Iran like the Chinese cars. Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs are now common as well as Japanese and SUVs though they refer to them as shasi-bolands!