If it were the prevalence of fast food generally that we were recording then Iran would up there with the best of them. There are plenty of places selling sandwiches with felafel or inedible sausage, and a few stretch to pizza with inedible sausage too. But our project is about the development of Western fast food brands, and on that basis Iran is very different.
There are no Western fast food brands. None. I saw a sign that said KFC once, but it was just a sandwich shop masquerading as diversified. In fact, Iran almost has less than the few other countries that we have categories as stage 1 (no Western fast food brands) because other Western convenience products are relatively hard to come by too. There is Coke and Pepsi, bottled locally, but it competes on a even footing with Iran’s own soft drink brands. You can’t reliably find a Mars bar at a corner store.
But back to the central question, we’re approaching the time in our travels when we will aggregate the fast food development ratings and mash them up a bit with other indicators of country development. Without looking at the numbers Iran is looking like a serious outlier. It is much richer than its fast food development implies. Or its literacy or child mortality rates.
It is simply politics that stops you getting a Big Mac in Bandar Abbas.