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Explained: Why Iranian officials did not wear neckties for State House meeting with Ruto

The Iranian delegation that accompanied President Ebrahim Raisi only donned suits without neckties

Iranian delegation during the State House meeting

President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran on Wednesday, July 12 visited Kenya, marking the first visit by an Iranian leader to the continent in over a decade.

The purpose of his visit was to bolster relations between the two nations, despite Iran facing sanctions from the United States.

During the visit, President Raisi's delegation caught the attention of onlookers due to their distinct dress code, as they opted for simple suits without neckties.

The preference for not wearing neckties was indeed deliberate and can be attributed to cultural and religious influences in Iranian traditions.

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Since the ascendance of Shiite clerics to power in 1979, the tie has been banned due to being perceived as an unIslamic symbol, connected to Western culture.

Instead, men often opt for a collarless shirt with a button-up or open neckline when attending official meetings.

Although it is banned, it is not illegal to wear ties. A section of Iranians, especially those working in the corporate sector, still wear ties.

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President Raisi's visit to Kenya was focused on strengthening economic ties between the two nations.

Several significant agreements were signed during the State House meeting, encompassing various sectors.

The signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) covered areas such as agriculture, livestock, culture and heritage, information and communication technology (ICT), fisheries, housing, urban and metropolitan development.

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Furthermore, President Ruto urged Iran to seize the opportunity provided by tax incentives in Kenya's current budget to increase investment in the health sector.

In the 2023/24 Budget, the government removed taxes on medical and pharmaceutical equipment, aiming to facilitate the improvement of healthcare services in the country.

President Ruto also announced plans by the Iranian government to set up a motor vehicle industry in Mombasa to produce indigenous Iranian motor vehicles which has already been named 'Kifaru'.

Another notable agreement witnessed by President Raisi was in the area of culture and heritage, specifically in tourism, wildlife, and heritage preservation.

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The Kenyan government expressed its commitment to collaborating with Iran in promoting and preserving cultural diversity and attracting tourists to experience Kenya's rich heritage.

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