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We are a family of four from Austria and are considering to travel to Iran in a couple of months. We‘ve already been to the country some twenty years ago and still remember its beautiful landscapes, ancient cities and more than welcoming people.

Given the current troubles in the Middle East and the politically unstable situation within Iran, however, we are a little bit worried about whether it is a good and safe moment to visit the country right now.

I of course already know about the official warnings, and they are definitely part of our considerations.

I've extensive travel experience in 80+ countries, some safer than others. This is also not about a vacation but part of a longer trip through Africa and the Middle East.

Please do not answer or comment, if you don‘t have inside information and just want to express your general political views about Iran or about adventure travel in general.

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3 Answers 3

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It is not a "good and safe moment" to visit Iran.

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises:

FCDO advises against all travel to Iran.

The Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs advises:

Vor Reisen in den Iran wird gewarnt. Österreicher:innen werden aufgefordert, den Iran zu verlassen (Sicherheitsstufe 6).

Für österreichische Staatsbürger:innen, besonders für österreichisch-iranische Doppelstaatsbürger:innen, besteht im Iran die Gefahr, willkürlich festgenommen, verhört und/oder zu langen Haftstrafen verurteilt zu werden, so wie es in jüngster Vergangenheit zahlreichen ausländischen Staatsangehörigen widerfahren ist. Es muss an dieser Stelle explizit darauf hingewiesen werden, dass die konsularischen Möglichkeiten des Außenministeriums und der Österreichischen Botschaft in Teheran in diesen Fällen stark eingeschränkt sind.

which Google Translate gives as

We warn against traveling to Iran. Austrians are asked to leave Iran (security level 6).

Austrian citizens, especially Austrian-Iranian dual citizens, are at risk of being arbitrarily arrested, interrogated and/or sentenced to long prison sentences in Iran, as has happened to numerous foreign nationals in the recent past. It must be explicitly pointed out at this point that the consular options of the Foreign Ministry and the Austrian Embassy in Tehran are severely limited in these cases.

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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Travel Meta, or in Travel Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 10 at 8:41
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While I understand that official travel advice is often too cautious and cannot be blindly trusted, I do not recommend leisure travel to Iran. BTW, is there anything that can be blindly trusted? I guess not - and that applies to this answer as well.

  1. Iran is a dictatorship. One photograph of a sensitive object can cause many months in jail or even a death penalty for espionage.
  2. Connectivity with the outside world is limited. For example, foreign payment cards don't work.
  3. Visiting Iran will forever taint one's travel history, leading to problems or even refusals when entering many other countries.
  4. Political situation remains unstable. The risk of terrorism or kidnappings in not very high, but there can be disruptions of every kind. This can be very disappointing especially if you're travelling with children.

On a personal note, a relative of mine visited Iran before the Covid pandemic as a solo male traveller and returned home safely. According to his account, it was an adventure, not just a vacation. Iran is nowhere near as dangerous as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria or Yemen, but it's not a plain sailing either.

Even if you choose to disregard all safety warnings, in order to visit Iran, you should be an experienced traveller who has previously taken their family to destinations such as (including, but not limited to) Caucasus, Central Asia, Africa (of course, not just the Mediterranean holiday resorts!), Sri Lanka, remote parts of Turkey, remote parts of Latin America, etc. If you haven't, I'd recommend reconsidering your travel plans. (I read you've been to Iran before, but probably without children, as it was 20 years ago, and the situation in Iran is unfortunately changing for the worse).

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    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 10 at 8:43
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While Western travel advisories claim that visiting Iran is currently unsafe, they unfortunately cannot be trusted when it comes to political adversaries of the West. They also tend to be overly cautious and make overly broad statements - for example they advise against all travel to Ukraine right now, even though the Western parts around Lviv are reasonably safe to visit in practice.

Instead we can check some non-biased sources to try and paint an objective picture.

  1. Check the news about tourism in Iran. I see some reports of a French tourist arrested for participating in a protest and another couple harassed for violating the Islamic dress code. Otherwise travel seems to be safe enough.
  2. Lookup Wikivoyage's Stay Safe section. I likewise see warnings against participating in protests or violating the dress code but otherwise it seems safe enough if you follow standard precautions.
  3. There's plenty of international flights to Iran right now run by major airlines.
  4. The ministry of foreign affairs of Singapore advises standard caution rather than requesting all non-essential travel to be postponed.
  5. The list of foreign nationals ever detained in Iran is quite long but once you exclude politicians, dual Iranian citizens, people filming military installations and NGO employees there's only about ~2 foreign persons detained per year. The risk is there but it's not that big.

I'd say you should be fine visiting Iran right now, as long as you stay far away from any political demonstrations, don't talk to locals about politics and adhere to the local dress code.

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    This user is known to have a non-standard look upon travel safety and often gives advice that is a minority point of view.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 9 at 5:25
  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Travel Meta, or in Travel Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 9 at 17:54

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