Once banned, now back: Iran sees timid return of neckties

Iran banned the tie for men after the 1979 overthrow of the US-backed monarch as a symbol of Western culture. Although it has made a slow comeback since, government officials and most Iranian men continue to shun the cravat.

The upmarket Zagros shop on the capital’s Nelson Mandela Boulevard however displays rows of ties in different colours and in wool, cotton or silk.

“We sell around 100 a month,” said deputy store manager Mohammad Arjmand, 35. “We import them mostly from Turkey, but some are also made in Iran.

“Customers buy them for ceremonies or for work. In this neighbourhood, you will find that two out of 10 people wear one. These days more people are wearing ties compared with previous decades.”

The recent unrest “had no effect on our sales”, said branch manager Ali Fattahi, 38. “Our customers who were wearing ties before still do so and come to us regularly to buy new ones.”


Iran’s Shiite clerics who came to power in 1979 banned the tie because, in their eyes, it was un-Islamic, a sign of decadence, a symbol of the cross and the quintessence of Western dress imposed by the shah, said one trader who asked not to be identified.

After vanishing for decades, ties reappeared in some shop windows during the era of reformist president Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005.

Today, government ministers, senior civil servants and heads of state-owned companies don’t wear ties with their suits and opt for shirts with buttoned, open or Mao collars.

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