Iran is a state with great cultural diversity. The official language of the state is Persian. Persian is the native language of communication and more than 50% of Iranians use it. Also, Persian language is popular for Indian-European culture and makes it easy for people who speak English to speak it in Iran, which is not the case with other languages of most countries in the Middle East. The Persian language is unique because people write from right to left (Shadpour, 2000).
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Most people are Muslims in Iran and those that are deeply rooted in religion have limits in interacting with others. For example, they avoid handshaking with non-relatives of the opposite sex as well as kissing each other. However, in Iran, conservative Muslims allow people of the same sex to kiss and get into contact with each other using various parts of the body such as cheeks. They can hug each other including both relatives and non-relatives (Fariba, 2000).
Iranians show respect for each other, which is promoted through decent dressing codes. For example, if visitors or guests present themselves on an occasion dressed in casual outfits, other members feel offended. In addition to dressing in official outfits during an occasion, people are required to be polite and soft whenever they are talking. One should not be too loud especially if the conversation is between strangers. However, people who are close to each other are allowed to express themselves freely as well as being loud (Abdou & Lyons, 2003).
When highly recognized people arrive during any occasion and find others seated, all those people seated are expected to stand up unless one is old, sick, or holding a small baby. On some occasions, when highly recognized people arrive only people of the same sex as him or she that is seated stand up as a sign of respect (Hoveyda, 2003). Iranian cultural differences are also seen in religions where, according to the US congress library, over 90% of the citizens are Shia Muslims. Congress estimates that Sunni Muslims comprise about 8% of the Iranian population. The remaining percentage is a mixture of Baha’is, Christians from the United States of America and Assyrians, Jew’s Religion, and a few who are Zoroastrians (Fariba, 2000).
Conservative Muslims follow a strict pattern of prayer, which is allocated five sessions daily from morning to evening. While praying, Muslims must face Mecca and their foreheads must touch the ground. The Muslims must wash their foreheads with water before praying, as well as their legs and hands. It is considered unacceptable for a Muslim to enter the prayer session without washing these parts of the body.
Iranians value their families and have well-defined relationships and responsibilities. The families with low income are supported with money and security through kinship. A family set up is the basic institution in Iran and regarded as the most important of all other institutions. Children are expected to relate well with their parents than spouses, to build stronger protection for children’s rights (Shadpour, 2000). Men are the providers of their families in terms of money and food while women take care of the children at home. However, with the revolution in Iran, some women are breaking these traditions and doing work that was initially meant for men even outside the home. For the spouses that are too busy at work, the Iranian culture does not allow entrusting daycares wholly to look after the children. They must set time aside to be with the children to understand their needs. Many Iranians marry through arranged marriages where parents choose the spouses for their children and bless the marriage. Some culture in Iran allows men to marry up to four wives (Abdou & Lyons, 2003).
Individual and community health is valued in Iran where cleanliness is observed for both the body and soul. Incense is usually burned in houses to create a nice scent and act as an insecticide as well as a remedy for bacteria. Bathing or washing clothes and household goods are not allowed near water bodies that are shared by the community such as rivers and public dams. It is wrong to urinate or spit into rivers as it is considered as a sin.
Abortion in Iran is a sin except when there is a valid reason that is medically proven such as when the life of the mother is in danger. Medical operations for birth control such as tubal ligation are not encouraged by the Conservative Muslims but other birth control measures are allowed if the spouses have health records that would not allow pregnancy (Abdou & Lyons, 2003).
The work schedule is from Saturday to Thursday while Friday is observed as the holy day for worship. Many offices and private institutions do not operate on Fridays to allow all the Muslims to attend Mosques for prayers. However, the offices are opened for a few hours on Friday morning (Fariba, 2000).
There are barriers in healthcare institutions especially regarding gender where there is a same-sex preference when choosing partners in giving health services. Doctors and nurses are also not supposed to disclose to the patients when they detect a high possibility of death resulting from the illnesses (Fariba, 2000).
Abdou, G., & Lyons, J. (2003). Answering only to God: Faith and freedom in 21st century Iran. New York: John Macrae, Henry Holt & Co.
Fariba, A. (2000). Being modern in Iran. Trans. Jonathan Derrich. New York: Colombia Press.
Hoveyda, F. (2003). The Shah and the Ayatollah: Iranian mythology and the Iranian revolution. Westport: Praeger.
Shadpour, K. (2000). Primary health care networks in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 4(6), 822-825.