December Trip to Iran

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East December Trip to Iran

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11. Posted by dan naz (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Judd,

First off, sorry someone called you a troll. That was lame.

I'm a Jewish guy living in San Francisco. I was conceived in Tehran, Iran where both my parents are from, but my mom was pregnant with me on the plane as they fled Iran to come to America. That was 1978, right around the time of the revolution.

Members of my family were on the government's hit list, and I think at least one of my relatives may have gotten hurt or killed. My point is, you might go to Iran and have a great trip, but my advice would be to be careful and not tell anyone you're Jewish.

It's sad -- I'd like to check out the country but I feel like I can't.

Anyway, good luck.

12. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3383 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting dan naz

Hi Judd,
First off, sorry someone called you a troll. That was lame.

He is also called a mental. that was lame too (all words came from a muslim, very smart).

i think better info you can't get. especially from an Iranian Jew. its unbelievable that there are actually still Jews living in Iran. can't imagine they feel accepted and respected. i visited a Jewish quarter in Yazd. didn't have the impression that they were happy there. anyways listen to dannaz;)

13. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Nawwal

As I suggest to anybody going to a country, which has a vastly different culture, from the one they come from, invest in a good travel book.
Iran is a country, where there are a lot of restrictions on what people are allowed to do, by law. It would be wise, to find out what these are, in order to be safe there. There are more restrictions on women, but as a man u also need to be careful. Iran is not a country for the unprepared.
Travel books I recommend.
Lonely planet
On a Shoestring
Rough Guide
Lets Go
They are available in most book shops, around the world.


[ Edit: Edited on Feb 18, 2007, at 2:51 AM by Mel. ]

14. Posted by Emmalineau (Full Member 94 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hear hear Mel. I have just read the Lonely Planet - Iran (cover to cover, it was fascinating).

The authors of this particular book are really knowledgable and have spent a significant amount of time in country - their perspective (all have a Western background) is invaluable. As with any theocracy, it's important to respect the religious views of the people who live there.

I am in the process of developing a screenplay I've written, which features several Iranian characters. Thus, I'm planning a two week trip, likely in Sept/Oct to get a feel for the people and the landscape. From everything I've read, the people are warm, hospitable and possessed of impeccable manners. It's unfortunate that the 'axis of evil' tag taints all Iranians, not just those in the political hierachy. As an Australian, I would be incredibly embarrassed to think the people of the world's opinion of me is based on tha actions our goverment and Little Johnnie in particular. Most Aussies I know are good-hearted, welcoming people who have their faults but many good points too. We just have a fairly narrow-minded goverment. I can't help but think the Iranians have been tarred with one big brush, thanks to the outspoken opinions of the mullahs.

Anyway, I can't wait to get to Iran and make up my own mind about this fascinating country. Hope you get the chance to do the same!

15. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Emmelineau(hope i spelled that right)

Yes, Iranian people are incredibly nice. I have met a few of them, here in Europe. And, I am sure I will enjoy Iran, because of what the people are like. Also, it will be interesting, because it is largely untouched by tourism.

I am planning to avoid all religious discussion, while in Iran. I hope that is respectful enough, as I am no fan of religion. Especially, with the way the government in Iran uses religion, to justify violating human rights

I am at a loss for words, when u compare Australians and their government, with Iranians and their government. The Iranian government is a ruthless, greedy dictatorship, which violates just about all human rights rules.

Check out this link


16. Posted by Emmalineau (Full Member 94 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Totally true Mel - there's no comparison between our respective governments. Iran is ruled with an iron fist, Australians enjoy many freedoms and opportunities that Iranians can only dream of.

My comparison was more about the way that the nationals of a particular country can be pigeonholed and stereotyped by foreigners, based on the actions of their government. When the most exposure people have to a certain country is what you see in the newspapers and on the nightly news, it's sometimes easy (though not advisable) to imagine that the people of the country might all possess the same views as their leaders.

Thus, many people the world over think that the majority of Iranians are hardline zealots. This couldn't be further from the truth.
In turn, many people around the world might think Australians are an ignorant, inhumane people, based on some of the actions and words of our elected leaders with particular regard to our treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers, and our conduct in the war in Iraq. Again, this is pretty far from the truth.

This is possibly the best thing about international travel - the opportunity to meet and spend time in a country and go home knowing just that bit more about what it's like to live and survive in other parts of the world.

17. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Emmelineau

All true. People stereotype, without ever having any contact, with people from particular countries.

How long will u stay in Iran?
After u get back, make sure u come here and tell everything. It might calm my nerves. I know foreigners are safe enough, in Iran, but I am still nervous. I dread that thought, that somebody there might start a conversation, about religion or politics, with me. I am interested in talking about those things, but while in Iran.....


18. Posted by RonPrice (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I'm a practicing Baha'i and have been trying to practice for 48 years after a brief six year orientation, preparation, pre-baha'i period in Canada. Let me say that, if you do get to Iran, see if you can find some Baha'is at any of the universities. News came out this week as follows:

NEW YORK, 28 February 2007 (BWNS) -- A growing number of Baha'is admitted to Iranian universities this year have been expelled, powerful evidence that Baha'i students in Iran still face severe discrimination and limited access to higher education.

After more than 25 years during which Iranian Baha'is were outright banned from attending public and private universities in Iran, some 178 Baha'i students were admitted last fall to various schools around the country after the government changed its policies and removed religious identification from entrance examination papers.

As of mid-February, however, at least 70 students had been expelled after their universities became aware that they were Baha'is.

"The high percentage of expulsions - which are all explicitly connected to the students' identities as Baha'is - suggests at best that the government is turning a blind eye to discrimination in higher education, and, at worst, is merely playing a game with Baha'i students," said Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

"While we are happy that for the first time since the early 1980s a significant number of Iranian Baha'i youth have been able to enter and attend the university of their choice, the government's long history of systematic persecution against Baha'is certainly calls into question the sincerity of the new policies," said Ms. Ala'i.

She noted, for example, that another 191 Baha'i students, having successfully passed national college entrance examinations last summer, were unable to enter university this year, either because of the limited number of places for the course of their choice or for other reasons unknown to them.

"International law provides that access to education is a basic human right, and Iranian universities have no excuse for denying students who have successfully passed their examinations the right to attend simply because they are Baha'is," added Ms. Ala'i.

"As long as any Baha'i is unjustly denied access to higher education, we can say that the years of systematic persecution and discrimination against Baha'i students has not yet ended, and we must call for this injustice to be rectified," she said.

The largest religious minority in Iran, Baha'is of all ages have faced systematic religious persecution since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. More than 200 Baha'is have been killed, hundreds have been imprisoned, and thousands have had property or businesses confiscated, been fired from jobs, and/or had pensions terminated.

According to a secret 1991 government memorandum, Baha'is "must be expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Baha'is."

One of the chief means the government has used to enforce this policy was to require that everyone sitting for the national college entrance examination state their religion on the test registration forms. Test forms that listed "Baha'i," or that had no listing, were rejected.

In 2004, apparently in response to continued pressure from the international community, the Iranian government removed the data field for religious affiliation. About 1,000 Baha'i students successfully sat for the examination that year and hundreds passed, many with very high scores.

Later that same year, however, in an action that Baha'i International Community representatives characterize as a "ploy," exam results were sent back to Baha'is with the word "Muslim" written in, something that officials knew would be unacceptable to Baha'is, who as a matter of religious principle refuse to deny their beliefs.

Government officials argued that since the Baha'is had opted to take the set of questions on Islam in the religious studies section of the test, they should be listed as Muslims. Baha'is contested the action and were rebuffed; no Baha'i students entered university that year.

The same thing happened in 2005. Hundreds of Baha'i students took and passed the national examination, only to find that the government had listed them as Muslims. Baha'is again contested the action, but without successful redress, and no Baha'is matriculated in 2005.

Last summer, again acting on good faith, hundreds of Baha'is took the national examination. This time, as indicated in the figures above, hundreds have passed, and some 178 were accepted into universities.

Throughout the fall, reports came out of Iran indicating that many of those who had been accepted were being refused entry or expelled once the universities learned that they were Baha'is. As of February, the confirmed figure totaled 70 Baha'is expelled.

"Accounts we have received from those who have been expelled or denied registration at the university of their choice clearly indicate the issue is their Baha'i identity," said Ms. Ala'i.

"One student, for example, received a phone call from Payame Noor University on 18 October, asking whether he was a Baha'i. When he replied in the affirmative, he was told that he could not be enrolled.

"Later, after visiting the university, the student was told that the university had received a circular from the National Educational Measurement and Evaluation Organization, which oversees the university entrance examination process, stating that while it would not prevent the Baha'is from going through the enrolment process, once enrolled, they were to be expelled.

"Another Baha'i student at that same university was told that students who do not specify their religion on registration forms would be disqualified from continuing their education there," she said.

Ms. Ala'i also said that the Baha'i International Community has learned that all universities in Iran except one still include a space for religion on their own registration forms.

"This raises the grave concern that the 191 additional Baha'is who passed their examinations this year but were refused places may in fact be the subjects of discrimination," she said.

"We call on the international community to continue to monitor this situation closely," said Ms. Ala'i. "We would also ask for the continued efforts of educators and university administrators around the world who have participated in a campaign to protest the treatment of Baha'i students in Iran."
And so another brief chapter in the 113 year long persecution of the Baha'is in Iran. The fact their world centre is in Isreal does not help. Perhaps, a stray American in search of a carpet might just be the thing.-ron price, Tasmania.

19. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Ron

It does not surprise me, at all, that Bahas are discriminated against, in Iran. The state of human rights, is at crisis level there.
Check this link.


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