Diplomacy starts with a unifying factor, an inkling of mutual interest. In light of the Iranian Nuclear Deal, could the Big Mac, a pivot West, be just what the US needs to bring everyone to the table?

Diplomacy starts with a unifying factor, an inkling of mutual interest. In light of the Iranian Nuclear Deal, could the Big Mac, a pivot West, be just what the US needs to bring everyone to the table?

America, AKA the Great Satan, has been exporting fast food garbage for years. There are only a few places on this doomed space rock where a human being can’t plop down and enjoy a personal Big Mac in their personal face.

Even abroad, there’s the option to enjoy a McShawarma in the middle of the Negev Desert. Hell, the Great Sphinx and the ancient gaze of Khafra can’t help but fixate on the joint KFC/Pizza Hut duplex across the street from its fabled paws.  Even Mecca has three conveniently-placed Mickey Ds stocked with McRoyales to carb-load individuals on pilgrimage. Despite of all the pink slime and gastrointestinal upset, McDonald’s has managed a reach more vast than sunlight.

Iran, however, is the exception to the rule.  All McDonald’s closed in Iran following the bloody Iranian Revolution of ’79. Virtually no legitimate American fast-food chains exist in Iran, mainly because of staunch anti-Western hardliners in government and strict international sanctions.

In 1994, an Iranian entrepreneur attempted to open a McDonald’s franchise for the first time since 1979, but the site was burned to the ground 48 hours later and the courts overruled the Health Ministry decision that had originally approved the restaurant to open.

However, lately, Iran has taken a liking to America’s tastiest (arguable) export. Could it be that the way to the Ayatollah’s heart is through his jujeh-hardened stomach?

It very well could, but don’t expect to see any bonafide McDonald’s opening their doors to adoring customers anytime soon. Instead, American fast food knock-offs are proliferating, and hilariously, with some not-so-subtle name changes.

Currently, Tehran is home to something called 'Mash Donald’s,' an establishment molded almost identically after Mickey D’s. They've also got a K.F.C. (Kabooky Fried Chicken), a Pizza Hut alternative called 'Pizza Hat,' and a 'Burger House' which is pretty much an artist’s rendering of Burger King.  There’s even a Carl’s Jr. operating under the name ‘Super Star’ (playing off the Carl’s Jr. logo), although Kate Upton gyrate-plowing through a half-pounder in a hijab just doesn’t have the same feel to it.

Even the branding is eerily similar. The Pizza Hat logo itself is an awkward, janky knockoff of the Red Hat Linux software logo with ‘Pizza Hat’ written over it in, I guess, Pizza Hut font.

To use the logic of John Amos’, owner of McDowell’s in the film ‘Coming to America’: “They got the Golden Arches, mine the Golden Arcs… they use a sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds."  The seeds of the West have indeed budded throughout Tehran.

Yes. A hat made of pizza. Let’s eat there tonight.

When it comes to the food Iranian knockoffs are serving up, don’t expect to get your fix for the KFC Double-Down, or Carl’s Jr. hot dog and Lay’s Potato Chip bedazzled beef mass (appropriately named the “Most American Thickburger”). Beside some of the staples like fries and the Big Mac, which has been renamed the 'Mash Donald’s Baguette Burger,' the other menu items aren’t what you’d expect,. There's the falafel sandwich or the one-and-a-half foot ‘super long sandwich’ at Mash Donald’s and Pizza Hat offers not only the choicest of -zas but also a selection of wings and lasagna.

Lately, the relationship between Iran and the US has thawed, culminating with the Iran nuclear deal last month. This has fueled speculation that the real Big Mac could finally be coming out of exile in the Islamic Republic. When it comes to the States, Iran might not be officially ‘lovin’ it’ just yet but, given their adoption of our gluttonous fast food mien, they have to admit the like us a little bit.

Pizza Hat, it seems, could be the dove of peace-za. Pun entirely intended.