Does This Application Form Mean That McDonald’s Is Going to Open in Iran?

Nothing’s official yet, but fast-food history could repeat itself

Despite the misgivings of a Republican majority and the Israel lobby’s tendentious muscle, Congress will probably pass the Iran nuclear deal. The agreement is a litany of compromises, the most dramatic of which being the decision to lift the U.S. sanctions that have left the Iranian economy to wither. In a matter of years — possibly even months — the country could be in for a massive influx of foreign investment.

If history is a reliable metric, then maybe we should expect to see the Golden Arches rise above Tehran sometime in the near-ish future. The Quarter Pounder is, after all, the American olive branch: in 1990, as the Western war against communism waned, McDonald’s opened its first franchises in Russia and then China, eager to spread the good news of deep-fried capitalism with the second world. Both countries had essentially closed themselves off to the various indulgences of the West, and so when thousands of Russians lined up around Moscow’s Pushkin Square on the restaurant’s opening day, they did so not for french fries and Big Macs but for “a piece of America,” as John Stanton, a professor of food marketing, told the BBC. There was a market for Western decadence, and McDonald’s filled the demand.
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