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Now there's a lot of propaganda in the west that leads us to believe Iran is dangerous and travellers shouldn't go there.

Obviously there are major political disagreements between several governments and the Iranian government and this should be taken into account.

But at a human level I have met many Iranians travelling elsewhere in the world and have found them to be friendly, charming, and hospitable. I have also met several western travellers who spent time in Iran, including hitchhiking around the country, who only have wonderful things to say about the country and its people.

As a traveller I've learned to trust the most what I hear from other travellers about a destination, especially ones which prefer similar ways of travel to myself. I've also learned to trust the opinions of inhabitants of countries bordering on the destination country the least.

Yet some people still insist that Iran is not safe for a traveller, or that it depends greatly on which area of Iran.

I can look up for myself the general travel advisories issued by governments and disclaimers in WikiVoyage. So please don't regurgitate those an answers.

I want to know from travellers who've been there, from Iranians, or from references to specific incidents targeting foreigners/westers about which parts of Iran are no problem, and which parts should be avoided, even by experienced intrepid travellers.

(I realize any advice won't apply to Israeli citizens unfortunately. I'm Australian.)

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    Nor for U.S. citizens, who generally aren't allowed to travel freely in Iran. – Michael Hampton Nov 10 '14 at 7:34
  • @MichaelHampton: Ah, I thought that might be the case but wasn't sure. Maybe Iraqi citizens aren't welcome either? – hippietrail Nov 10 '14 at 23:15
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    Iran is a Safe country to live in and it is also safe for travelers, hospitable people and a great ancient culture. could not express enough how wonderful this country is. – user31366 Jul 2 '15 at 22:39
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    The general impression I have (partially from an Iranian) is that the people are wonderful but the government is horrible. I think it'd be good if some answer addressed whether the government is a danger to ordinary travellers. – Andrew Grimm Dec 10 '15 at 11:46
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I was born in Iran, am not living there, but have traveled a bit in the country. My Farsi (Persian) is not very good and because I grew up outside of Iran stand out on the streets. In short, I'm not exactly a tourist when in Iran, but I'm also not a local.

In a few words, Iran is safe for tourists. This is both from my own experiences and from the experiences of foreign tourists I met while traveling around Iran. Public transport is cheap and easy, roads are good, people are helpful wherever you go, accommodation is cheap, though not always catering to foreigners very well.

The only real exception is the south east which is bordered with Pakistan and Afghanistan as some drug smugglers are active here. Beyond Bam it empties out and beyond Iranshahr you should think twice about traveling on your own, if you can. But even if traveling on your own, here, you'll most likely be fine, though.

Everywhere else, you should have nothing to worry about. I'd say that many (most?) countries in the world pose greater risks to tourists.

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    This is pretty great as an answer - you've got both views as a 'local' and 'non-local'. Is there a particular reason beyond Iranshahr is unsafe? Is it hijackings/muggings/kidnappings etc? – Mark Mayo Nov 10 '14 at 1:18
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    @MarkMayo - As far as I know, this due to Sunni rebellion in Sistan-Baloshistan. – mouviciel Nov 10 '14 at 8:07
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    There's a lot of dissatisfaction in the region. Many of the people here are neither shia nor Persian. And, Sistan and Baluchistan is Iran's poorest province, with a life expectancy about a decade below the rest of the country. I'm not sure describing the situation as a 'rebellion' is completely accurate, but there have been regular unrests. On top of that, unrests from southern Pakistan have been known to spill over into Iran as well. – MastaBaba Nov 10 '14 at 12:27
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    That's how it was long ago, also--I was there in 1975. In that southeast area the instructions from the military was that we were not to stop for any reason, most specifically people on the road. Even if they were too slow jumping aside and one got hit. We had one encounter with bandits--a line of them across the road, the driver stepped on the gas, they jumped aside at the last second, we missed them by maybe 2 feet. – Loren Pechtel Jun 11 '15 at 3:47
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I am a New Zealander who travelled to Iran about two months ago, flying into Shiraz, visited Persepolis, and made my way north by bus through Yazd, a little village called Toudeshk, and Esfahan before reaching Tehran after two weeks. This is a very traditional tourist route through the central part of the country and is entirely safe for Western travellers. Avoid the border zones with Iraq and Afghanistan and you'll be fine. Iran itself internally is a stable country, with the people busy going about their lives and getting ahead. They are incredibly friendly and honest and who will go out of their way to help you. I found it safer than being at home at night in particular, as there is no drinking culture which leads to the random street violence common in Anglo-Saxon nations...

You will find lots of European travellers, the odd Kiwi and increasingly many from China. I didn't come across any Australians, Brits or Americans for some reason. It isn't just for adventurous young backpackers: in the big tourist spots (like Esfahan and Persepolis), there were hordes of little old ladies from Italy and Germany in particular on package tours.

Iran is a very easy place to travel in: you can get by with just a few pleasantries in Persian, as someone is always ready to help you out if needed. Get the Lonely Planet guide and you'll be well set up. You might want to check out this excellent travel blog from a Kiwi couple I met there: http://andotherdetours.com/category/iran/

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    What about any regions that would be considered unsafe? Or did you not feel there were any? – Mark Mayo Nov 10 '14 at 3:25
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    The lack of British travellers may well be because the British Government advises against all travel to parts of Iran and all but essential travel to the whole country, not least because the British Embassy was stormed and burnt down in 2011. – David Richerby Nov 10 '14 at 9:30
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    @MarkMayo No, I didn't encounter anywhere remotely unsafe but I was on the standard well-beaten tourist path. The only danger I found was trying to cross the road: the driving is insane. – Michael MacAskill Nov 10 '14 at 9:46
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    @DavidRicherby I can understand UK reservations then. But as an individual foreign traveller I got a universally very nice personal reception. But then we have no mutual national political conflicts or the difficult shared history of embassy incidents of UK/Iran. – Michael MacAskill Nov 10 '14 at 9:51
  • People from the US, Canada or the UK (since 2011) are not allowed to go wherever they want in Iran; they may only go as part of an organized tour. – Michael Hampton Jul 3 '15 at 0:22
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I am an Iranian and maybe know more about my country, since I live here now.

Obviously, there are some places that are not safe, not only for tourists, but also for ordinary citizens. Places like Afghanistan or Pakistan borders, and some sectors in every city. You can ask someone in that city to tell you about those sectors.

Nowadays many people in Iran can understand English, although not fluently.

If we factor out those places, most parts of cities are calm and without something special. You may just find people come and go, some traffic, sometimes violence, sometimes kindness, some happy people, some sad people, and so on. But for a foreigner, it is important to respect some rules about Iranian-Islamic cultures. For example, don't drink alcoholic beverage in the middle of bazaar! Or don't shake hands with a lady, if you are a man. Surely, people won't kill you for these, but they look at you angrily. Especially if you are going to travel to small towns, try to respect their cultures more.

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    By the way, the main problem of Sistan-Balochistan is not due to Sunni rebellion. There are some drug smugglers that make there unsafe. – MEDVIS Nov 10 '14 at 12:33
  • Is it the same with the Iraq border I assume? – hippietrail Nov 10 '14 at 23:19
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    The west border of Iran (Iraq and Syria border) is safer than east border (at least now). Most of western cities in Iran are totally safe, specially big ones like Sanandaj or Orumia. However, these days the police is very strict because of the probable ISIS problems and maybe for a foreigner won't be easy to travel to these cities. – MEDVIS Nov 11 '14 at 7:11
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Iran is in general very safe, both for Iranians and foreigners. There is no war or fighting going on there, the crime rate is very low, and even when crime is committed they tend to be of a less violent nature than in most western countries. For people worried about safety, I would say the only place in Iran to avoid is the province of Sistan & Baluchistan which borders Pakistan. It's a predominantly ethnically Baluchi and Sunni Muslim region of Iran, so they are an ethnic and religious minority in Iran. I've never been but there are often stories of kidnappings, militants shooting at Iranian reservists or policemen, and there is also a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim group called Jundullah operating in that province.

Having said that, the province of Sistan and Baluchistan is probably not that interesting for most tourists to visit, so you won't be missing out on much if you opt out of going there. Other than that, everywhere in Iran is safe. Tehran is safe, the historical capital of Esfahan is safe, the Kurdish provinces are safe, etc.

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Iran is definitely a safe place to travel. As long as you do your homework and research a bit before going, you'll be fine, even as an American.

source - I travelled in Iran with my girlfriend last December. the tour company we used had a post about this here http://lilontravel.com/en/safety-in-iran-is-it-safe-to-travel-to-iran/

protected by Community Nov 2 '15 at 16:16

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