The basis of social structure in Iran is the family, and the affairs of the family are held more privately with a strong belief in tighter family ties. A very independent feature in the Iranian culture is the family unit, and the male supremacy is the basis upon which the family values spring. Contrary to the Iranian culture, in the UK women are allowed to live without the authority or dominance of men. The more traditional gender roles are not seen as exactly binding. In contrast to the UK culture also, in Iran it is believed that female relatives must be shielded from influences external to the family. A great care must be taken of them by the male family members. It is, for instance, an offence to inquire about the one's wife or female relatives. As opposed to the culture in the UK, most Iranians also practice Islam. Also, the Islamic faith and Islamic teachings regulate most of the important aspects of their personal and social lives including the economic and social spheres.
In Iran, as opposed to the UK, polygamy is an accepted part of culture and is deeply rooted in the Islamic law. This is quite different from the UK where polygamy is rarely practiced. Another cultural practice that is considered a taboo in the UK is marriages within the family context, and the manner in which marriage partners are chosen. The insistence by a close family to select spouses for their relatives is still a very common practice in Iran. Also, a marriage with the close relative which is in the UK accepted as the incest is quite normal and is widely practiced in Iran. Furthermore, Iranians consider any person without family ties to be of a lower societal status and can only redeem him or her if he commits himself to serving his religion. However, this is seen to be very different from the culture in the UK.
As much, there is a big geographical distance and behavioral aspects between these two cultures. They do have some common characteristics. Just like Iranians, people in the UK still cherish very much the importance of a family set up. This fact is reflected a lot by the views of the majority of population and by the desire of leaders and public figures to demonstrate a strong commitment to family values. Both societies are highly influenced by a greater family unit. The perception of women in both cultures is also similar in some areas. Although women have a greater freedom and a little influence in comparison with men in the UK than in Iran, there are still the prominent hierarchical differences between males and females with males taking the more dominant roles in most spheres of life. For example, there are generally more men in the leadership structures, and they are still regarded as more capable than women.
In the UK, Friday is a normal working day of week, but in Iran one would find businesses closed because for Muslims Friday is the Holy Day for a prayer. The etiquette as practiced in the UK is not as strict as it is in Iran. Greetings or introductions will be done more freely between as well as men and women, while, in Iran, introductions are mostly confined to members of the same sex. It is very uncommon to publicly display emotions in the UK. Kissing is usually reserved for family members in the privacy of home and is rarely done in public. On the contrary, Iranian greetings are imbued with more affection, and men will kiss other men, while women kiss other women, especially in social gatherings. Iranian greetings also tend to be more elaborated with conversations about the one's family and other general things.
The culture in Iran is majorly characterized by a combination of strong family bonds and a great degree of individualism. Iranians also prescribe to the concept of two different identities, which is not a norm in the UK. These identities are the Zaherand Batin. While in the public there is a prescribed form of behavior dominating that must be followed; and it is only when in the privacy of the one's home that the true social self can be freely expressed. "Societal or institutional collectivism is not a strong suit of Iranians" (Javidan & Dastmalchian, 2003). Another significant difference between the Iranian and the UK culture is that those in the position of power are accorded a lot of honor and privileges with divergent views especially of the political nature being frowned upon. The culture is also greatly inclined towards the individual accomplishment.
The Iranian political system is a very different one as compared to that in the UK. This is due to the fact that this is the state, where the divine law is the unique source of legitimacy and political authority. The Iranian spiritual leader is vested with the religious jurisprudence to oversee and guide the political direction of the country. The spiritual leader also has a great impact in the matters of judiciary, military, on the president and parliament. These institutions are elected by people. This is because the Islamic ideology is the basic foundation upon which the political system of Iran is built. The Iranian state is, therefore, a completely theocratic one. This is quite different from the UK situation in which the government is separated from religion.
Women in Iran are also not generally encouraged or allowed to participate in the activities traditionally considered as the domain of men, such as politics, certain categories of work and sports. Sport events that require women to remove their religious head scarves can only take place in the enclosed arenas with women only as spectators. This is in sharp contrast to the UK culture where women can be involved in any sport without any restrictions, except due to health grounds.
In the UK, the informality is very commonplace and despite their belief in a social class, workplace relations and the educational environment are quite informal with most people including students and teachers calling one another by their first names. People in authority are also very approachable, and the manner of dressing is not dictated by any particular norm. In Iran, on the other hand, the matters are quite the opposite ones. People are more formal when dealing with people in authority, such as bosses in the workplace. Besides, the dress code is strictly governed by the Islamic faith. An aspect that is shared by both the Iranian and the UK cultures is friendliness. In both cultures, people are very friendly making a small talk on just any topic whenever there is a slightest chance to catch up with one another. Again there is a display of politeness in both cultures with a lot of "thank you" and "sorry" greetings making a major part of the daily norms whenever necessary.