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My Trip To Iran

Iran is in the news, and this reminds me that I didn’t share the details of my trip there in October 2017! So, belatedly, I will catch you up with as brief a version, which will hardly do it justice.

I discovered a country struggling with enormous economic and environmental problems. Despite that, I met wonderful friendly people who were eager to meet foreigners, eager to talk and share, and eager to help when needed… and, of course, I saw breathtaking art and architecture. I felt as if I was walking through thousands of years of history, going back to the conquests of Alexander the Great and before. There were many surprises, but perhaps the biggest surprise was how freely people in the street expressed resentment of the policies of the religious leaders. The other surprise was the deep respect and appreciation of President Obama for his loosening of sanctions and willingness to negotiate.

At the time of my visit, this seemed to open a window of hope for economic growth and a better future for the highly educated young people, almost all of whom spoke perfect (or almost perfect) English. I know many reading this will have other opinions… but it is important to separate the ordinary people from their government. It is quite possible to love one and not the other!

For a holder of a US or British passport, there are quite a few difficulties to be overcome to visit Iran.  Obtaining a visa involved a background check and took about three months to be approved.  As a citizen of the US or Britain, you have to book a guided tour and are supposed to have a guide with you at all times. I found in fact that once I was in Tehran, I was free to go wherever I wished, quite alone.

I spent one day exploring the very efficient and cheap Metro underground which whisked me from one side of the city to the other in swift comfort and was very easy to understand. There is almost no crime and I never felt fear for my safety. Quite the contrary, as women dressed “modestly” as required by law (headscarf and loose long-sleeve top covering the rear), are treated with complete respect.  I arranged my visit through GAdventures (www.gadventures.com) with whom I had been to Uzbekistan, Rajasthan and Eastern Turkey in the past. I appreciate their small groups, interesting itineraries and a great willingness to be flexible and make it possible to include things of special interest that are often not on the original schedule. They allow plenty of free time, too, to explore on your own.

I had a great time… hope you enjoy the photos!