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Practical Information

 

 

 

We have assembled some pieces of important and general information on Iran. For any further question you may have, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any and all queries. As for the rest, we leave it up to you to discover when you finally arrive in Iran!

 

The French and Swiss governments have supplied a detailed list of guidelines to refer to:

 

French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.

 

 

Buying

The most commonly sought after items brought back form Iran are carpets, diverse craft items such as ceramics, marquetry, printed fabrics, ‘miniatures’ etc, pistachios (incomparable) saffron, (some of the best in the world) and dates.

 

 

Alcohol

Alcohol is forbidden in Iran, except for Armenians. however it can be obtained on the black market.

 

 

Money

The currency of Iran is the rial (IRR) and the toman (I toman =10 rials) In March 2014, 30,000 rials was the equivalent of 1 US dollar, 1CHF about 34,000 rials and the euro about 42,000 rials. It would be advisable to take with you either dollars or euros and in smaller, newer bills. Today, the exchange rate is more or less standardized. The notes are available in amounts of 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 rials as well as what are known as ‘Cheques’ in the amounts of 500,000 and 1,000,000 rials

 

 

Credit Cards

With the exception of certain good hotels and carpet shops, western credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) are not accepted in Iran; therefore it is necessary to take a sufficient amount of cash with you.

 

 

Climate

The climate can vary and Iran typically has cold winters and very hot summers. In the south, in general it is hot and humid with temperatures reaching maximums of 50oC. In the north, it is a little more temperate (15-40oC). Spring (mid-March to mid-June) and autumn (mid-Sept. to mid-Nov.) are the best seasons in which to visit the country, even if the nights can be cool. In summer, it  can be very pleasant in places such as Azerbaidjan and Ardabil and in winter, the Persian gulf remains agreeably warm.

 

 

Mobile Phone Network

There is generally good coverage in the larger cities such as Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz but less reliable outside urban regions.

 

 

Risks

Contrary to popular beliefs, traveling to and around Iran is neither dangerous nor complicated.

 

 

Time Difference

Iran is GMT +3.30. This means that when it is 12.00 in Geneva, it is 14.30 in Iran. In Iran, summertime begins at a slightly different time than in the west due to the observation of the earth’s equinoxes.

 

 

Economy

The Iranian economy is dependent on the petrol and gas industries that remain under State control. For several years, Iran has been experiencing high inflation and in the summer of 2012, the rial plummeted; going from 12,000 rials to the dollar to 30,000 rials to the dollar and creating peaks of hyperinflation. Even though the country boasts some of the planet’s Super-rich, for the most part, ordinary people earn  salaries of between 200 and 600 dollars.

 

 

Water

In principal, the water is drinkable everywhere with the exception of certain regions ( Sistân va Baluchestân). During the summer months, it pays to be a little more prudent and it is advisable to drink bottled water, however showering and bathing in tap water is perfectly safe.

 

 

Electricity

Iran as the same system as France : a two-pin plug,  220 volts

 

 

Dress Code

Women are obliged by law to wear the hihjab in Iran. This consists of wearing a scarf to cover the hair and a long-sleeved blouse that also covers the knees. The colour is optional, however for cultural and practical reasons, most Iranian women favour black or dark blue, except for eveningwear.

It is advisable to pack a variety of garments and to avoid silk scarves, at least for daytime and cultural visits and as they have a tendency of slipping off the hair. The tchador, a large piece of fabric worn over the hidjab, is not obligatory, except for certain religious sites (e.g the mausoleum of Imam Reza in Mashhad or the Fatemah in Qom). For men, shorts and sleeveless t-shirts are not acceptable.

 

 

Opening Times

Shops and boutiques are generally open from Saturday to Thursday, 9am-8pm and certain grocery shops are open until midnight. Outside of Tehran, shops are often closed between 2pm and 4pm. Shops are closed on Fridays (the Muslim equivalent of Sunday)

Museums are generally open form 8.30am to 6pm in the summer and until 4pm or 5pm in the winter. They are closed on either Mondays or Tuesdays.

Note: there are numerous religious high days around Iran when the shops will be closed for at least a half day.

 

 

Hospitality

Iranians are amongst the most hospitable people in the world and particularly love westerners: They are always happy to speak with you, warmly invite you to share a meal or a cup of tea or accompany you to see or visit something of interest.

 

 

Hygiene

Iran is generally a clean place. Tehran boasts a veritable army of cleaners that work through the night to ensue the cleanliness of the city. Iranian families are proud of maintaining their properties in impeccable order, ever ready to receive guests.

 

 

Internet

Throughout the cities, high-speed connection to the Internet is available in cyber cafés and good hotels are equipped with Wi-fi or propose internet hot-spots. As the Internet is censored in Iran, not all sites are freely accessible.

 

 

Media

Major newspapers are printed in Iran, several of them in English, such as the Tehran Times and the Iran News. All television and radio broadcasts from Iran are government controlled.

 

 

Manners and Politeness

Iran is a country with a tradition of  ta’ârof ( manners, courtesy, politeness) and Iranians like to apply multiple layers of courtesy to their conversation and interactions. The ta’ârof dictates that one systematically extend invitations to one’s home, or during business transactions where taxi drivers, grocers, carpet merchants would first refuse payment for a service or purchase, but rest assured, they are being polite, and will eventually accept and, of course require payment.

 

 

Post Offices

The post offices are open from Saturday to Thursday

 

 

Security

Security and the feeling of security are closely related; sometimes dependent on information/police statistics but other times more or less subjective or irrational. In out experience, Iran is a safe country to visit and our clients of the past 15 years have always felt secure and at ease.

 

Commonsense is the only precaution advised and is the same as when travelling to any European country: keep valuables in a safe place (hotel safe or money belt) Keep bags securely fastened and under surveillance at all times, don’t give your passport to anyone – leave it with the hotel reception to be consulted by the relevant authorities as needed.

 

 

Telephone

The dialing code for Iran is 0098 followed by the desired phone number minus the 0

 

 

Vaccinations

General indications from the Louis Pasteur Institute In Lille, dated March 7, 2014

 

Yellow Fever: not obligatory when coming from Europe, North America, Australasia or Asia.

 

Obligatory if having recently traveled to certain African countries or South America

 

Hepatitis A: advised

 

Hepatitis B: advised

 

Rabies : Vaccination recommended in the eventuality of adventure holidays or longer stays

 

Polio-Tetanus: advised

 

Typhoid: advised

 

Protection against malaria:

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