Is it Safe to Travel to Iran?
Travel to Iran
Despite the common belief in many western countries, Iran is not an area of conflict nor a war zone. On contrary, Iran is a peaceful country that you can visit without any fear. In fact, one could say that the safety in Iran is similar to, or even better than, the safety of most of the countries in Europe.
However, to avoid getting in trouble while in Iran, you need to respect the regulations, culture, and traditions.
Iranians are friendly with foreign people
Even though the political relationships with some of the western countries are not that good, the people in Iran do not show hostility to foreigners. Iranian people are kind and polite by nature. You will notice that Iranian people are friendly and polite with tourists and tend to show respect and kindness.
Since a lot of people in Iran can speak English to some extent, you can communicate with many of them and see how friendly, kind, and hospitable they are.
Crime in Iran
Like any other country in the world, there are criminals in Iran. However, the crime rate in Iran is low enough to consider Iran a safe place. In other words, you can walk alone in the streets, stay in hotels and go shopping by yourself without worrying about anything.
If something happens to you, the locals and the police officers will help you for sure. You will surely witness the kindness of the Iranian people.
Do Iranians mistreat Americans?
The Argo movie may have made an unpleasant portrait of Iran in your mind; back then, when I saw the film with my friends in Tehran, in the first half of the film we thought it is a comedy movie, then we thought it is fictional; now I do not know which one was it. So, please do not pay attention to these movies with a political agenda; you’ll agree with me when you travel to Iran. Politics and hatred between the two governments did not affect Iranians’ behavior towards American tourists at all. Maybe you have seen photos of the anti-American demonstrations in which Iranians angrily burn the flag of the USA. But I should say these tensions are only between Iran and USA governments and Iranians have no hatred against US citizens, and you’ll be surprised to hear many Iranian youths love America. Los Angeles has the highest concentration of Iranians outside of Iran, with more than a million Iranians living there call it Tehrangeles or little Persia. Rather than showing any hostility, Iranians try to displace their rich culture and heritage with the stereotype of Iranians portrayed in the media.
How do Iranians behave towards solo female tourists?
Whether you like it or not, you’ll probably receive some attention from Iranian men, if you are a solo female traveler. “lady, where are you from?” is perhaps the most frequent question you’ll encounter.
But this attention is not constant or unbearable. Because as you know, Iran is an Islamic country, and many Iranian men consider it inappropriate to approach a woman on the street due to religious and cultural reasons. So, the level of attention to female tourists in Iran is less severe in comparison with many other parts of Asia. Also, violence against women is not tolerated in Iranian culture.
Transportation in Tehran
Snapp and Tap30 are Iran’s ride applications like Uber, which are safer and more identifiable than catching a ride from an unofficial taxi. You can use official taxis, which are mostly yellow and green, and would cost more than Snapp and Tap30.
Health system in Iran
Iran has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. There are a lot of hospitals all around the county. Most of these hospitals and medical centers are prepared with advanced medical equipment and ready to provide various services for medical tourists.
The doctors in Iran are well-trained to treat patients and help them. The nurses and other members of the medical staff will make sure to keep you healthy and monitor your vital signs when in a hospital.
Alcohol is illegal in Iran
Alcohol is one of the main taboos in Iran. Iranian laws prohibit consuming and selling any alcoholic beverage. Keep in your mind that even bringing alcoholic drinks with you is prohibited and not possible. There are special X-ray machines in the airports to check the bags.
The punishment for drinking, producing, or selling alcoholic beverages ranges from fines to spending time in prison. And since these laws apply to both locals and foreigners, you should avoid alcohol while in Iran.
Iran has a unique dress code
Iran has dress codes for both men and women. Dress codes in Iran apply to anyone who wants to be in Iran including tourists.
Dress code for women
Wearing Hijab is required for all females in Iran. Women must also put on lengthy shirts. They need to be long enough to cover the thighs. T-shirts are not allowed, as women need to wear shirts with sleeves that cover the elbows. Women can wear jeans or leggings in Iran as long as they cover the legs above the ankles.
There is nothing that prohibits women from putting on colorful clothes. All colors are allowed in Iran. However, it is recommended that women avoid wearing see-through clothes.
Dress code for men
Although there is a dress code for men, it has far fewer restrictions. Men can wear anything except for shirts without sleeves and shorts. It is normal for men to put on long jeans with a long-sleeved shirt or a T-shirt.
Both men and women can wear any kind of footwear including sandals. Visible tattoos are not a problem in Iran. If you have one, there is no need to hide it.
Do not take photos of Government buildings
All tourists tend to take photos while they are abroad. However, in Iran, you need to be careful when taking photos. Iranian laws prohibit taking photos of a lot of public areas like the government buildings and transportation systems like the metro.
Just to be safe, avoid taking photos of government buildings, the police, the army, and other government personnel. If you get caught taking photos in a prohibited area, police officers may approach you asking you to delete the photos.
Money in Iran
Due to the sanctions on Iran, it is not possible to use international credit or debit cards such as Visa and MasterCard in Iran. It is not possible also to transfer money to Iran via the banking system.
Therefore, when you travel to Iran you should take enough cash with you. You should determine your budget for the trip plus some extra money beforehand.
Of course, carrying a big amount of cash with you all of the time can be a problem. The best solution for you is to use MAH card. A prepaid Iranian card that can be used to pay in shops in Iran. Iranian credit card is safe and easy to use.
Iran’s government behavior toward tourists
The Iranian government is eager to attract tourists from all over the world. One of its news agencies stated that the government was planning to earn 30 billion dollars from the tourism industry. Iran’s president, Hassan Rohani, smooths harsh policies and visa requirements in 2015 so that you can travel to Iran much more quickly.
As a tourist, your first interaction with the Iranian government will probably be at the airport where immigration officials check your visa and welcome you in broken English. You may encounter police checkpoints along the path, but they are unlikely to inspect tourists, and you will continue your path without any pause.
Is ISIS active in Iran?
ISIS is a horrific terrorist group that makes terrorist attacks in the Middle East and sometimes in Europe. But their crimes are almost unheard of in Iran. Their base is in countries like Syria and Iraq, and Iran’s strong military almost has made ISIS and other terrorist groups vanish from Iran and have turned Iran into the safest country in the area. In June 2017, Iran suffered its first terrorist attack since 2010. But this attack was not subjected to Iran people, and its target was the Iranian parliament and government.
If you’ve come this far, don’t hesitate to visit this unique and ancient land, and as soon as you step into this gorgeous Iran, your sense of doubt will surely turn into a sense of awe and admiration.
Iran is a safe place to visit. You do not have to worry about traveling to Iran. We can assure you that your trip to Iran will be pleasant.