- Our Service
- About Iran
- About Us
Iran (Persian: ايران) is a large country in the Middle East, between the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea. It is bordered by Iraq to the west,Turkey, Azerbaijan’s Naxcivan enclave, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the northwest,Turkmenistan to the northeast, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the southeast.
Understand Known formally as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling Shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces subsequently crushed Westernisation and also any liberal/left-wing influences. Iranian student protesters seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held hostages for 444 days -until 20 January 1981. From 1980 to 1988, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with neighbouring Iraq over disputed territory. Key current issues affecting the country include the pace of accepting outside modernising influences and reconciliation between clerical control of the regime and popular government participation and widespread demands for reform. Inflation and unemployment (particularly among youth) are major economic challenges.
Humans have inhabited the area that makes up modern Iran since the Stone Age. The ancient Persians arrived about 1500BC, one branch of the great movement of people that also brought northern India and most of Europe their modern populations. The name Iran is from the same root as “Aryan” which, until Hitler perverted it, was just an ancient name for those arriving peoples. Persian (natively known as Farsi) is an Indo-European language; ancient Persian was related to Sanskrit, ancient Greek, and all the others in that family. Persians are ethnically and linguistically unrelated to their neighbours on the west, the Arabs and Turks.
Iran has many people other than ethnic Persians. The northwestern region, Azerbaijan, is largely populated by Azeris, who are ethnically and linguistically related to Turkish. The province of West Azerbaijan is both Azeri and Kurd. Other regions are mostly Kurds in parts of west and northwest and Baluchis in parts of southeast. There are also Armenians, Arabs, and last but not least Jews, who have been living in Iran peacefully for years.
While Shia Islam is without a doubt the dominant religion in Iran, there also exists several religious minorities as well. Sunni Islam in Iran is mainly practised by ethnic minorities such as the Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. Other non-Islamic faiths also exist in smaller numbers, the most notable being Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Judaism, all three of which are recognised as minority religions by the Iranian constitution, and each of these are guaranteed representation in parliament. As such, despite being an Islamic republic, fire temples, churches and synagogues continue to operate legally in the country. Most Iranian Christians follow Eastern Orthodoxy, and are of Armenian ethnicity. Iran also has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside Israel. While there are also a significant number of Baha’is in Iran, they are not recognised by the constitution and are instead branded as heretics of Islam, meaning that they continue to be persecuted to this day in spite of being Iran’s numerically largest non-Muslim religion.
There are also two substantial communities of people of Iranian descent in India and Pakistan — Parsis who have been there for over 1,000 years, and Iranis who arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries — both Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in Iran.
Throughout history, Persia has generally been an empire, one whose fortunes varied enormously. In ancient times, Persia controlled most of what we now call the Middle East, and came close to conquering Greece. A few centuries later, Alexander the Great, conquered (among other things) the entire Persian Empire. Later, Persia was conquered by the Arabs in the expansion of Islam in the centuries immediately after the time of Muhammad; Persian and other languages of the region are still written with the Arabic alphabet. About 1250, Persia was overrun by the Mongols. Marco Polo passed through just after that, learned Persian, and wrote extensively of the region.
At other times, Persia conquered many of her neighbours. Her empire often included much of what we now call Central Asia (Polo counted Bukhara and Samarkand as Persian cities), and sometimes various other areas. A few generations after the Mongols took Persia, the dynasty they founded there took all of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and most of India. The Indian term “Moghul” for some of their rulers is from “Mongol”, via Persia. Even in periods when she did not rule them, Persia has always exerted a large cultural influence on her neighbours, especially Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The Safavid dynasty re-united Persia as an independent state in 1501, established Shi’a Islam as the official religion, and ushered in a golden age of Persian culture. They were overthrown in 1736 by Nadir Shah, the last great Asian conqueror, who expanded the Empire to again include Afghanistan and much of India. His short-lived dynasty and its successor lasted until 1795. Then the Qajar dynasty ruled 1795-1925, a period of heavy pressure from foreign powers, notably Britain and Russia who jointly occupied Iran during World War I. In 1906, Qajar rule became a constitutional monarchy and the Majlis (Persian for parliament) was established.
Iran has a diverse climate. In the northwest, winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures during December and January. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry and hot. In the south, winters are mild and the summers are very hot, having average daily temperatures in July exceeding 38°C (100°F) and can hit 50°C in parts of the desert. On the Khuzestan plain, summer heat is accompanied by high humidity.
In general, Iran has an arid climate in which most of the relatively scant annual precipitation falls from October through April. In most of the country, yearly precipitation averages 25 centimetres or less. The major exceptions are the higher mountain valleys of the Zagros and the Caspian coastal plain, where precipitation averages at least 50cm annually. In the western part of the Caspian, rainfall exceeds 100cm annually and is distributed relatively evenly throughout the year.
Rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts. The highest point is Mount Damavand (5,610m). Desert: Two great deserts extend over much of central Iran: the Dasht-e Lut is covered largely with sand and rocks, and the Dasht-e Kavir is covered mainly with salt. Both deserts are inhospitable and virtually uninhabited. Mountain: The Zagros range stretches from the border with the Republic of Armenia in the north-west to the Persian Gulf, and then eastward into Baluchistan. Zagros is extremely hard, difficult to access, and populated largely by pastoral nomads. The Alborz mountain range, narrower than the Zagros, runs along the southern shore of the Caspian to meet the border ranges of Khorasan to the east. Forest: Approximately 11 percent of Iran is forested, most extensively in the Caspian region. Here one finds the broad-leafed, vigorous deciduous trees, usually oak, beech, linden, elm, walnut, ash, and hornbeam, as well as a few broad-leafed evergreens. Thorny shrubs and fern also abound.The narrow Caspian coastal plain, in contrast, is covered with rich brown forest soil.
• Caspian Iran
• Central Iran
• Persian Gulf Region
• Iranian Azerbaijan
• Western Iran
Below is a list of nine of the most notable cities:
Tombs of some famous people
In this palace, Shah Abbas II and his successors would receive dignitaries and ambassadors, either on the terrace or in one of the stately reception halls.
The name, meaning “Forty Columns” in Persian, was inspired by the twenty slender wooden columns supporting the entrance pavilion, which, when reflected in the waters of the fountain, are said to appear to be forty.
Squares and Streets
Desert trekking and desert excursions
Though the northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran.
The eastern parts consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes.
There is also the Central desert which as can be understood from its name is located in the central regions.
This is because the mountain ranges are too high for rain clouds to reach these regions.
The desert in the upper picture is around Na’in. it’s called Varzaneh moving sand dunes.
There are sand hills from 5 to 62 meters that always moving when the wind blows. The highest sand dunes in Iran.
There are a lot of activities that can be done in the desert areas including; desert tracking, camel riding, bicycle riding and 4×4 driving excursions.
In some parts of the deserts there are some camping sites available. The easiest budget priced desert tours can be organised in Na’in and Kashan.
There are five ski piste around Tehran. They are at Dizin, Darbandsar, Tochal and Shemshak.
The longest one is the Dizin piste, this is north of Tehran and reachable during winter by using either Chalous Road or Fasham Road.
The more professional slope is at Shemshak and that is the one used for national and international tournaments.
The ski pistes near Tehran are all normally accessible by road in around 1-2 hr.
Iran has coastline along the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. A popular place for its beaches is Kish Island in the Persian Gulf that men can enjoy all year & women can use only covered beaches. Kish Beach is famous for its sunshine and is therefore a pleasant place.
Accommodations in Iran range from luxurious, if a little weary, five star hotels (هتل) in major cities to the small, cheap mosāferkhuneh (مسافرخانه) andmehmānpazir (مهماﻧپذیر) guesthouses that are littered about most centres. Moreover, staff in mosāferkhuneh often are so happy to provide room for non-Iranians, as these facilities have a recommendation from local governments to serve all tourists. For longer stays, villas with all facilities (including central air conditioning, pool and Internet connection) can be rented in Tehran and all other major cities at reasonable prices. note that a woman & a man may not share a hotel room unless they can prove their relationship (married couple or siblings) although foreign tourists are usually exempt from this law. Also you can find traditional hotels in central Iran includes Esfahan, Shiraz and in particular Yazd.
In general, Iran is much safer than Westerners might expect. Most people are genuinely friendly and interested to know about you and your country, so leave aside your preconceptions and come with an open mind. Iran is still a relatively low-crime country, although thefts and muggings have been on the increase in recent years. Keep your wits about you, and take the usual precautions against pickpockets in crowded bazaars and buses. Due to US sanctions, using international credit or debit cards in Iran is not possible, but you can buy Iranian banks prepaid no-name Gift Cards to enjoy money withdrawal from more than 11,000 ATMs around Iran for free. Purchasing gift cards has no surcharge or service fee and you can withdraw or spend all the money you put in your gift card. Some of the gift cards don’t have an ATM withdrawal feature and are only for using in shops and stores POS, then make sure you get ATM enabled gift card before purchasing it from bank. There is 2,000,000 rials daily withdrawal limit for most of Iranian bank cards then purchasing several card lets you withdraw more money from ATMs per day. Some gift cards usually are not re-loadable. Some are pre-loaded in designated amount but some banks let you load them for your desired amount when you purchase. As they are no-name, there is almost no way to report stolen card and get duplicate. Always keep passwords and cards in safe place. Having a couple of used empty cards with passwords written on them may help you in case of being mugged for money!! There is no cash-back feature in Iranian POSs but in case of emergency and having no access to ATM you may ask a shop owner with POS to give you cash-back. They may charge you for bank service fee (1% – 5%). Withdraw your leftover money in cards few days before leaving Iran to avoid any problem which may cause by SHETAB Interbank Network failure (very rare). It is common that ATMs do not work for an hour between 12:00AM – 01:00AM for database update. When using ATM be alert. Better to use it in not very quiet areas.
In particular, the tourist centre of Isfahan has had problems with muggings of foreigners in unlicensed taxis, and fake police making random checks of tourists’ passports. Only use official taxis, and never allow ‘officials’ to make impromptu searches of your belongings.
Iranian traffic is congested and chaotic. Guidelines are lax and rarely followed. Pedestrians are advised to exercise caution when crossing the roads, and even greater care is advised for those driving on them – Iranian drivers tend to overtake along pavements and any section of the road where there is space. In general, it is not recommended for inexperienced foreigners to drive in Iran. Watch out for joobs (جوب), the open storm water drains that shoulder every road and are easy to miss when walking in the dark.
Travellers should avoid the southeastern area of Iran, particularly the province of Sistan va Baluchistan. The drug trade thrives based on smuggling heroin from Afghanistan. There is plenty of associated robbery, kidnapping and murder. Some cities, such as Zahedan, Zabol and Mirjaveh are particularly dangerous, although not every place in this region is dangerous. Chahbahar, which is close to the Pakistani border, is a very calm and friendly city.
Emergency services are extensive in Iran, and response times are very good compared to other local regions.
Other Emergency Services are also available.
Iran has state-of-the-art medical facilities in all its major cities.
Apart from being up to date with your usual travel vaccinations (tetanus, polio, etc) no special preparation is needed for travel to Iran. For minor ailments, your hotel can contact an English-speaking doctor. In case of serious illness or accident, you can ask to be taken to a hospital with English-speaking staff (such as Milad Hospital, Atiyeh Hospital, Mehrad Hospital, Day Hospital or Khatam ol-Anbia Hospital in Tehran). Make sure that your health insurance covers illness or accident on holidays since free medical service is not available in Iran.
Tap water is safe to drink in most of the country (and especially the cities), although you may find the chalkiness and taste off-putting in some areas (mainly Qom, Yazd, Hormozgan and Boushehr provinces). Bottled mineral water (āb ma’dani) is widely available. Also, on many streets and sites, public water fridges are installed to provide drinking water.
In general, Iranians are warm, friendly and generous individuals with a strong interest in foreigners and other cultures. In dealing with Iranians, the following tips relating to customs and etiquette may prove useful:
Although its strict Islamic moral code is well known, Iranian laws are not as strict as other countries such as Saudi Arabia. Respecting the dozens of unspoken rules and regulations of Iranian life can be a daunting prospect for travellers, but don’t be intimidated. As a foreigner you will be given leeway and it doesn’t take long to acclimatise yourself.
The culture, like most others in the Middle East and Central Asia, has a strong tradition of hospitality. Guests are often treated extremely well. On the other hand, there is some insularity; any foreigner may be regarded with suspicion.
Greet people of the same sex with a handshake, three kisses or both, but avoid physical contact with people of the opposite sex in public. Wait for them to introduce themselves instead; or just introduce yourself normally. (Bowing with a hand over your heart has been outdated since the 70s and is rarely done.) In private, only shake hands with a member of the opposite sex when he/ she holds out his/her hand first.
Be careful of initiating political discussions. The relative political freedom of ex-President Mohammad Khatami’s era is fading quickly and vocal opposition can be more trouble than it’s worth, even if your Iranian companions get engaged in it. It’s best not to discuss topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict or the role of Islam in society regardless of what opinion you hold.
Tarof (Persian: تعارف ) is a genuine Persian form of civility emphasising both self-deference and social rank. The term encompasses a range of social behaviours, from a man displaying etiquette by opening the door for another person, to a group of colleagues standing on ceremony in front of a door that can permit the entry of only one at time, earnestly imploring the most senior to break the deadlock.
The prevalence of tarof often gives rise to different styles of negotiation than one would see in a European or North American culture. For example, a worker negotiating a salary might begin with a eulogy of the employer, followed by a lengthy bargaining session consisting entirely of indirect, politelanguage — both parties are expected to understand the implied topic of discussion. It is quite common for an Iranian worker (even one employed in an Iranian neighbourhood within Europe) to work unpaid for a week or two before the issue of wages is finally broached. Likewise, a shopkeeper may initially refuse to quote a price for an item, suggesting that it is worthless. Tarof obliges the customer to insist on paying, possibly several times, before a shopkeeper finally quotes a price and real negotiation can begin.
Tarof also governs the rules of hospitality: a host is obliged to offer anything a guest might want, and a guest is equally obliged to refuse it. This ritual may repeat itself several times before the host and guest finally determine whether the host’s offer and the guest’s refusal are real or simply polite. It is possible to ask someone not to tarof (tarof näkonid), but that raises new difficulties, since the request itself might be a devious type of tarof. The best approach to handle Tarof is to be politely direct. Accept or reject as soon as you wish to, and be sure that Iranians will not be offended. Even though Tarof is purelyabout the art of civility, your engagement in Tarof might enter you into a vicious cycle of hypocrisy that may ruin your entire stay. The exception to this may be with food; as mentioned above, guests are expected to accept food they are offered at dinner, regardless of whether they intend to eat it.
Visiting holy sites
Although no trip to Iran would be complete without a glimpse at the stunning architecture and sombre environments of its mosques or holy shrines, many travellers are daunted by the prospect of walking into the foreign world of a mosque. Don’t let these fears stop you; Iranians are welcoming and will understand any unintended breach of protocol.
Some mosques, and most holy shrines, require women to be wearing a chādor before entering the complex. If you don’t have one, there are sometimes kiosks by the door that lend or hire chādors. It is better for men to wear long-sleeved shirts inside a mosque or shrine, though this is not mandatory.
Shoes are not worn within prayer areas of a mosque or shrine. Busier mosques have free shoe repositories where you trade your shoes for a token. Also try to avoid mosques on the holy day of Friday as they will be much busier and don’t photograph a mosque while prayers are taking place.
Holy shrines, like those in Mashad and Qom, are usually off limits to non-Muslims, although the surrounding complexes are fine. Always ask first before you enter a room you are unsure of.
The thumbs up gesture is extremely rude in Iran, roughly equivalent to raising the middle finger in Western countries.
Hitchhiking is rare in Iran, and the country has a good public transportation system. If you do hitchhike, do not use a thumbs up signal. Also, be aware that drivers will generally expect to be paid and, unless you are an expert haggler, hitchhiking will often be more expensive than taking a bus.
Contrary to popular belief, public observance of other religions, besides the Baha’i faith, is officially tolerated in Iran. There is a sizable Christian community, most of whom are ethnic Armenians or Assyrians/Chaldean, and a small Jewish community (which is nevertheless, the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel). In addition to the Abrahamic faiths, there are also significant numbers of Zoroastrians who are basically free to practise their own religion. However, remember that this is still a conservative Muslim country and do not do or say anything which can be perceived as an insult to Islam. Also note that the Islamic dress codes still apply even to non-Muslims.
During Ramadan, the month of fasting, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink while the sun is in the sky. Restaurants are closed all day, opening at sundown and perhaps remaining open very late. Other businesses may adjust their hours as well.
Western music and dancing in public is banned . However, the visitors may notice that even shared taxis openly play the music of their choice. Still, customs may confiscate any music tapes or CDs brought in as some western music is considered un-Islamic, degrading towards women and corrupting for the minds of the youth. However, many Iranian youth have widespread access to all kinds of music. Women are not allowed to sing in public (even the traditional music) they may sing indoor for women only.
These are the area codes for major cities Tehran (021) – Kashan (036) – Isfahan (031) – Ahwaz (061) – Shiraz (071) – Tabriz (041) – Mashad (051) – Kerman (034) – Gorgan (017) – Na’in (032)- Rasht(013)
When making international calls from Iran, the prefix to be dialled prior to country code is 00.
The country code is 98, if dialing from a cellphone +98
Rightel and Mci and irancell are most powerful networks in iran,[www.mci.ir] MCI,[www.rightel.ir] Rightel and Mci offer relatively cheap (20,000 tomans:7USD) pre-paid SIM cards for international travelers. It is possible to buy recharge cards from all newsstands and supermarkets and internet for 20,000-10,000 tomans[7USD&4USD].These networks specially MCI and Rightel, works quite well in all cities and rural areas even in villages or borders. irancell operator network is a bit weak and now all networks in iran have [3G AND 4G<E] all over the country, Kishcell and Isfahancell are operating in some region/locally only.
4G<E networks work only in city centers but GPRS and MMS is always available everywhere at very low prices, specially at fridays, for surfing the web or checking your email. WiFi with your mobile phone or tablet is a good option in Iran and you can readily access WiFi internet services (depending upon network availability) in many areas like resturants and commercial centers.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Post Company has 209 central post offices which supervise all the 275 urban and 1,153 rural post offices. The company provides many of the internationally available post services. Parcel sending is very cheap and reliable. Bring your items unpacked to the post office. International courier companies such as DHL , Skypak etc have offices in Tehran and accept documents for foreign destinations.
Iran has WiFi and other wireless internet access from providers such as Irancell and Mobin net,parsonline,shuttle.The networks are widespread and often offer wireless high speed internet access. Conservative forces within the Iranian government have been wary of providing internet users in their country with the adult content and politically dissident views available on the Internet. After a clampdown on unlicensed internet cafes a few years ago, cafe-net (کافی نت) facilities have popped up across all major cities and tourist centers. Some, but not all, are double-signed in English, so you may want to memorize the Persian script. If in doubt, any young Iranian should be able to point you in the direction of the nearest coffee net. Iran is the fourth largest country of bloggers.
Some websites are blocked based on words appearing in their URL, however savvy coffee net users may be able to show you how to circumvent these restrictions. These include but are not limited to social networking websites. You can expect to pay between 3,000-15,000 rials/hr and speeds range from acceptable in all cities. More recently, some facilities in major cities use broadband wireless or DSL connections. Most coffee net places will also have a DVD burner for downloading photos from digital cameras.
You will also find internet connectivity in most middle-class houses.
Banks are generally open from 7:30AM-1:30PM Sat-Wed and 7:30AM-12 noon on Thursdays. Main branches are usually open to 3PM. (Closed on Fridays). International airports have a bank open whenever international flights arrive or depart. All banks have boards in both English as well as Persian.