Iran : Safety by City
Iran is a large country located in the Greater Middle East, between the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea. It is part of the South-Central Asian Union and is sharing its borders with Iraq to the west, Turkey, Azerbaijan’s Naxcivan enclave, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the northwest, Turkmenistan to the northeast, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east.
The entire northern part of Iran is completely covered in rain forests called Shomal, which mostly resemble simply forests or woods rather than rain forests, but they are still called the Jungles of Iran. If you’re more into deserts, there are plenty of the in the east of the country. You will have a great time in the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s largest desert, located in the north-central portion of the country and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east. The country also offers some salt lakes, but don’t be fooled that you will be bored in Iran. There are plenty of activities that Iranian deserts offer, like desert tracking, camel riding, bicycle riding, safari and 4×4 driving excursions.
Warnings & Dangers in Iran
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Overall, Iran is safe to visit when it comes to crime but you have to avoid some very dangerous parts of the country if you want to have a safe trip.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
You should be careful while on the road, as accidents while driving are known to happen frequently. The roads aren't all bad and they vary from being in an excellent condition to being in a very poor condition. However there are other factors that make driving in Iran dangerous, suh as poorly lit roads, reckless drivers that ignore traffic signs, etc. There is also a risk of being attacked by pirates operating in the Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpockets are definitely an issue in this country and you should keep in mind that they operate mostly in the overcrowded bazars and public transports. Remain vigilant at all times and leave your most valuable belongings in your accommodation.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Among natural disasters that are known to hit Iran are extremely high temperatures sometimes exceeding 50C, sandstorms that are a regular occurrence, and severe sandstorm that occur sporadically. Earthquakes are also a threat.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Except in the tourist area of Isfahan, where mugging has been on the rise lately, this isn't generally a concern in Iran. Make sure you only take licensed taxis as 90% of muggings occur in unlicensed ones.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are likely to carry out attacks in Iran. The threat is believed to be coming from the Sunni extremist groups, which are probably the perpetrators of several bombings that have taken place in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are almost no known scams in Iran. Still, just in case, be wary of people trying to distract you or offering you unwanted help, check your change twice and always negotiate every service beforehand.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many women have traveled to Iran without having any negative experiences. Generally speaking, it is no more dangerous in Iran than in most European countries, Australia or USA. Still, you should be very vigilant if you're traveling alone and always apply basic precaution measures you would in your own country.
So... How Safe Is Iran Really?
Generally speaking, Iran is a safe country when it comes to violent crime. Its crime rates are relatively low, with the exception of the dangerous areas in the southeast of the country. You should be aware that there is a lot of petty theft in the urban areas of the country, especially in crowded bazaars, bus and train stations, as well as airports. Mugging has become more common during the last couple of years in the tourist center of Isfahan.
There are certain areas that are best to be avoided, and considered dangerous for foreigners, like all areas east of the line running from Bam to Jusk, the Sistan-Baluchistan province, and the area within 20km of the entire border of Iraq. These areas are especially dangerous because they are known for drug traders have been known to smuggle heroin from Afghanistan here. Because of this, there have been robberies, kidnappings and even murders happening here. Cities of Zahedan, Zabol and Mirjaveh are particularly dangerous.
Do not go anywhere within 120 km of the entire Iran/Afghanistan border. These areas are regularly affected by ethnic conflicts and they have been known as places where kidnappings of foreigners occur on occasion. The tourist centre of Isfahan is also known for problems with muggings of foreigners in unlicensed taxis. Keep in mind that there are fake police officers making random and impromptu checks of tourists’ passports. Only use official taxis, and never let these fake officials to search you without asking for identification.
- Visas - Many countries do need a visa to enter Iran. If you're from Israel or have been to Israel, your visa is going to be denied. Your visa must be acquired before traveling to Iran and it will be issued for up to 30 days. Make sure your passport is valid for at least the next six months. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Iranian Riyal is the official currency in Iran. Don't count of ATMs and credit cards. You can't use them or debit cards, or travelers cheques. Bring lots of cash.
- Weather - Climate in Iran varies depending on the area. In the northwest, winters can be cold with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures during December and January. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are extremely hot with temperatures reaching as high as 50C.
- Airports - Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport is the busiest and primary airport of Tehran, the capital city of Iran. It is located 30 km southwest of Tehran, near the localities of Robat Karim and Eslamshahr.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Iran, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.