TEHRAN — Iranians hoping to get a taste of the Colonel Sanders' finest had their hopes dashed after police closed down a Tehran restaurant using the KFC name and displaying its signature red-and-white signage.
Calling itself Halal KFC — using the term to describe foods allowed under Islamic dietary laws — and showing Colonel Sanders' face, the eatery was shuttered for not having the proper paperwork, according to local reports on Tuesday.
"Police closed the 'KFC' restaurant as it didn't have authorization and had been operating under a false license," according to Iran's Young Journalist Club, which is affiliated with state television.
A sign outside the shop read that the municipality had shut down the premises and would not be allowed to reopen without permission.
Semi-official Fars news agency quoted the restaurant's owner as saying that his business was not affiliated with American KFC and the closure was due to a "miscommunication."
"Brands like KFC and McDonald's that have branches all over the world get their ingredients from the United States and are not halal. The Leader says that would never be allowed in Iran," Fars added, referring to the country's most powerful man, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
American fast-food chains are potent symbols of U.S. imperialism for many Iranians, and nonexistent in the country thanks to local opposition to them as well as international economic sanctions.
KFC quickly distanced itself from the shuttered Tehran restaurant.
"The outlet in Tehran is illegitimate and we are in contact with local authorities and external advisers on resolving the situation," a company spokesman told NBC News via email.