Iran has been undergoing an important transformation since moderate leader Hassan Rouhani was elected as president two years ago. The nuclear agreement reached as a result of this process has made Iran happy. Iranians are coming to realize the gap between themselves and the rest of the world thanks to the increasing use of technology in the country.
Every citizen of Iran citizen has felt the financial embargo, which is expected to be abolished in the near future, in his or her marrow. You start to feel what this embargo has meant to Iran as soon as you set foot into the country. For example, if you want to catch a taxi in Iran, you need to provide your credit card as collateral for the Turkish offices of Iranian taxi hiring companies and pay the money in advance. After you pass the Gürbulak Border Gate, all your bank accounts in the global financial system, passwords and credit cards become meaningless. If you don't have enough cash with you and need cash immediately, you have no choice but to return to Turkey. We used the same system. After we made the necessary payments, we passed through the Gürbulak Border Gate without a visa and drove inside the country with a taxi.
We were astonished by the words of taxi driver Amir who studied at a university in Turkey for two years. "Cuba has become fashionable among Turkish people. They are unaware of the Cuba next door. Here is a totally different world outside the global system. We want the financial embargo to be abolished, but we also know that nothing will be the same after it is abolished," stated Amir. Even though Amir's words surprised us, we felt how right he was during our road trip which lasted almost 10 hours. Iran is a world where there aren't any global brands except Turkish brands. But stores with all world famous brands have opened with faux logos. The same financial rules go for hotels as well. Booking.com and similar websites are completely ineffective in Iran, and it is almost impossible to book hotels. Only a few luxury hotels have offices in Istanbul, as 95 percent of Iran's hotels make reservations at the entrance. Those who intend to stay for a long time in Iran can work with local banks, which require bureaucratic transactions that last for more than a month. In short, it is difficult to find rooms in hotels in Tabriz and Tehran. Despite all this, we saw during our visit that businessmen from around the world are flocking to Iran. According to information given by Iranian authorities, the global world accepted one year ago that embargoes directed at Iran would be removed.
Although city centers in Iran have made progress in terms of technological infrastructure, you travel in time when you go to the suburbs and provinces, and it is still possible to see telephone switchboards that are reminiscent of the 1960s in hotels where you stay for a short time. The domestic car brand, Samand, prevails on the roads, but it is possible to frequently see luxury automobiles as well. A great move toward modernization catches your eyes in big cities like Tabriz and Tehran. Shopping mall frenzy is engulfing Iran in all areas. Restaurants, the majority of which are operated by Turks, are quite popular. Art is yet another area that has boomed in Iran in recent years. Artwork, worth anywhere up to hundreds and thousands of dollars, sell like hot cakes. We witnessed this when we visited an art gallery in Iran. You have to pay high fees to enter an art gallery where you can see pieces belonging to Western culture.
Dr. Vahid Peyman is one of the most successful businessmen in Iran. He is also a media boss and manages one of the most prestigious newspapers in Tabriz. What makes Peyman different is hidden in investments which he made between Turkey and Iran. He managed to actualize the İpek Yolu magazine that is published in Turkish, English and Persian with the objective of bringing Turkish and Iranian business circles to the same platform. It is the first Turkish magazine to be published in Iran. Peyman, who also made an agreement with Anadolu Agency, believes that no one can catch up with the speed of the trade between the two countries in the near future.