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Safety in Iran

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Safety in Iran

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1. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

I am not yet seriously thinking about going to Iran. I have not done enough research yet, to find out if it would be a good place to go.
But would anyone be able to tell me how safe is it, for a Western woman, to travel there?


2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 10y


I was in Iran this August, I never had any problems. Iranian women are far more independent than their Arabic muslim sisters. The fact that you are in the "Islamic Republic of Iran" actually protects you, as nobody would dare touch you.

In other countries in the ME, a single woman can get a lot of hassle from local men, because the notions and habits that protect a local woman don't apply to her. You are seen as "free for hunting".

Not so in Iran. The law applies to all here, men will get their head cut off whether they had sex with a foreigner or a local women. Touching you will get him a lashing, and not a sympatethic grin and a thumps up from the police.

Apart from that, people will go out of their way to make sure that you are safe. Tourists are still relatively rare in Iran, so you are considered a honoured guest instead of a walking cashcow that needs to be milked.

All this makes Iran a very very safe and easy country to travel in for a single woman. The only thing you are asked in return is that you have to be fully covered, ie headscarf and long shirt that covers your bum whereever you go.

Iran itself is a very nice and cheap place to travel in. The country is big with a highly diverse topography. Mountains, beaches, skiing slopes, hiking trails, spots for rock climbing and serious mountaineering, desert, ... Whatever you could want, it is there.

Go and apply for your Iranian tourist visa today, you won't regret it.

[ Edit: Edited at Oct 3, 2006 2:02 PM by t_maia ]

3. Posted by lwk198 (Budding Member 15 posts) 10y

Yeah, I've got a (admittedly, male) friend who went to Iran a couple of years ago + he said it was so safe + everyone was extremely friendly, for the reasons that t_maia sets out below.

The only thing I would say about Iran though, is would you feel happy going somewhere with such a sheer disregard to human rights? I've seen video footage of women being stoned to death in Iran (for adultery) and I can honestly say it was the most harrowing thing I have ever seen. I could never help boost the economy of a country that partakes in that practice....

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 10y

Concerning the stoning etc, it needs to be said that almost 80 percent of Iranians consider themselves non-religuos.

The strict enforcement of all the religios rules in the last 26 years as well as corruption in the government has most of the people resent the clerics and religion with it. Of the rest, most support the Sharia, but would prefer a less strict application.

The government deals with this by overlooking misdemeanors to a certain degree. They have lessened up considerably in the last 4 years or so, or they would have been swept away in a revolution. Only a very small minority of hardliners pushes towards stricter enforcement of the laws.

So it is the government, not the people. A government facing an Iranian glasnost and perestroika.

5. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Speaking of the economy, does the money i would pay for things, in Iran go to the local people, or would most of it go to the government?


6. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

I suggested to my boyfriend, that my daughter and i travel in Iran, and he said the following. Now, i dont know what to think, and it puts me back, to not being able to make up my mind, whether to go or not.

In Iran, they hang people for all sorts of trivialities like being gay, they stone to death women who are accused of adultery, they torture people in jail (for being practicing Christians for example) and all that sort of thing. One of the people on the Volkskrant-blog has a blog about it with endless examples, the government are a 'religious' dictatorship, truly disgusting. I, personally, would avoid the place out of principle. Not to mention the ever-increasing tension between the Iranian government and the rest of the world, mainly the US, over Irans nuclear ambitions. Feck knows if that situation may blow up one day.

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Please, give opinions on the following, to help me make up my mind.

If i go to Iran, then this will expose more people in Iran, to people from the West. Then when they see our more modern ways and the freedom we have, maybe this will cause them to put more pressure on the government, to change faster.
Afterall, the political activists of Iran have not requested that we boycott the government, by avoiding Iran.

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 10y

Most of the money you pay for goes to local people. For all its attempts at an islamistic economy (which is essentially Socialism in disguise) Iran is still a capitalist country. The guy at the food stall where you buy your bread and fried chicken is most likely the owner of the shop and you help him support his family.

It is true that bad stuff happens in Iran, but as Guntanamo and Abu Ghareib have shown, the USA are not above torture either. Yet would you avoid the USA for these reasons?

There is another thing to consider: It might be my clouded suspicious muslim mind, but what if the blog you mentioned is written by some die-hard right-wing conservative politician, whose intention is not really to point out how bad the Iranian government is? What if the target is Islam in general instead of Iran? What if the hidden point is: "See what the muslims can do? Get them out of our country before it is too late!"?

Also, that the government is a (religiously) suppressive dictatorship hasn't stopped people from going to Egypt.

For me the decisive factor was that although I despise what is happening in Iran, I feel that it is partly the result of an US-American policy. In 1950, the CIA overthrew an elected Socialistic government in Iran and re-installed the Shah as head-of-state. The 1978 Islamic Revolution was a logical step to follow. Iranians are proud, they do not like to be told what to do.

Another thing was that as a muslim, the idea of being in the Islamic Republic of Iran didn't scare me. I'm not thrilled about how they force Islam on each and everybody, as I am convinced that it is counterproductive to the faith. But I had no problem wearing cover or follow "the rules" at all, since this is how I live at home too. My life wouldn't change much if I moved to Iran.

Last but not least, I spent the first eleven years of my life living under a dictatorship. It was very enlightening to me to later read about the influence western reporters and local resistance groups had on the peaceful revolution that led to the reunification of Germany in 1990. The contacts the resistance members had with people from the west was essential, as was the access the East German people had to West German media.

As I love living in a democracy, I'm all for more exposure of Iranians to western ideas. (Though I believe Iranians to be exposed enough. They just need to be driven to the point where they put an end to their government. From the look of it, that point is drawing nearer day by day.)

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by rayani (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y

Sorry to see how media and propagandas control the minds. I am an Iranian supporting reforms in Iran ans still I think comparing Iran to all countries in the middle east It is the safest and most democratic.
Leading my tours after some days I easily see how their strange ideas about Iran have changed to new good ones. If you want to see the truth it is better to travel. It is many years I haven't heard about stoning women in Iran and never heard of any religious minorities putting into prison because of his religion.