Taarof meaning in Iranian culture
This is Iran’s unique and (at first) bewildering etiquette system. When you attempt to buy something, the vendor will generally tell you it’s free – they will accept no money under any circumstances. They don’t really mean it – your role as the buyer is to absolutely insist on paying. It may take two or three goes, but eventually your money is accepted.
This, oddly, is the norm, and it’s quite endearing. The complication comes when you travel independently in remote places as we did, where quite often people really do want to give you things for free (food, drink, accommodation.) Your role then is to initially refuse, and to do so enough times until it feels right to accept. If it sounds weird, it is, a bit, but it’s good fun too and important to understand.