In Iran with Alpina Business Books

The book division of Alpina Business Books/United Press has released "Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran’s Culture and Customs" by Sofia Koutlaki.

Never tell an Iranian directly what you want from him. At the same time, you should be prepared to answer questions from strangers, such as: "How much did you pay for that watch?" Iranians will not sit at the dinner table until twice asked to do so by the owner of the home, but they are quick to invite a new acquaintance to their homes for dinner. In Iran, taxi drivers sometimes refuse money and there are never any lines in the shops. The Persian language is similar to German. Women drive cars and work full-time, but they are forbidden to pluck their eyebrows before their wedding day. Men bathe their children, clean vegetables and only appear in public wearing custom-tailored suits.

A Greek, Sofia Koutlaki has lived in Iran for almost 20 years, and during that time she managed to break every possible law of Persian courtesy. She wrote this book for those who want to understand the rules of life in the world’s most closed country and to avoid repeating the mistakes she made.

Koutlaki has been married to an Iranian man for 20 years. For 20 years she has worn a veil, spent five hours preparing lunch, obeys the wishes of her in-laws, reads poems by great Persian poets in the original language, watches television series about the prophet Muhammad and in all ways loves the country. Her hope is that those who read the book will stop considering Iran the "axis of evil," the main cause of instability in the Middle East and a country that violates the rights of women. The author invites readers to recall the great cultural heritage of Persia, to feel the poetic perfection of the Farsi language and to take the first opportunity to become acquainted with famous Persian hospitality.