TEHRAN, Iran — At a trendy restaurant in Iran’s capital, customers sip Coca-Cola through bending straws as waiters bring caddies to their tables full of Heinz ketchup and two types of Tabasco sauce.
Welcome to dining in the Islamic Republic, brought to you by America.
Whether at upscale restaurants or corner stores, American brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi can be seen throughout Iran despite the heightened tensions between the two countries.
U.S. sanctions have taken a heavy toll on oil and other major industries in the country of 80 million people, but Western food, movies, music and clothing are still widely available. And 40 years after the Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy, despite billboards and rallies declaring “Death to America,” Iranians — particularly the young — embrace U.S. products.