9 Don’ts Every Traveler In Iran Should Know

For instance, don’t call Iranians: Arabs.

isfahan iran
PHOTO Wendy Hung

Contrary to your impressions, Iran is actually quite a safe place to visit. Locals are generous and excited to see foreigners but there are cultural protocols that you should be aware of because it’s a deeply religious country after all. Here are some tips on things every traveler in Iran should avoid:

1. Ladies, DON’T go to public places without wearing a veil.

This begins as soon as you’re ready to step off the plane after landing in Iran. However, Iran remains as one of the safest countries for female travelers in the Middle East.

2. DON’T rely on credit cards.

In general, credit and debit cards are useless in Iran due to US sanctions, so make sure you have enough cash – in dollars or euros – for the duration of your trip.

3. DON’T take pictures near military and sensitive areas.

There are many military and government establishments in Iran, taking photos in those areas will result in serious criminal charges and be accused of espionage.

4. DON’T drink alcohol.

The importation of alcohol is banned in Iran. If you don’t follow, there might be sever penalties. Stick to Istar flavored drinks!

PHOTO Wendy Hung

5. DON’T expect to eat pork.

Similar to alcohol, pork isn’t imported to Iran. Be prepared to consume lots of beef, chicken and lamb.

6. DON’T call Iranians: Arabs.

Iran was conquered three times in its history, by the: Greeks, Arabs and Mongols. So being called Arabs is a negative reminder of the occupation which started Iran’s decline as a global power during that time.

7. Also, DON’T call the Persian Gulf: the Arabian Gulf.

It’s considered offensive to Iranians since they insist that it should be called the Persian Gulf. Calling it otherwise may result in offending a local.

8. DON’T flaunt your same-sex relationship.

Unfortunately, same-sex relationship isn’t legal in the country, so such PDAs aren’t advised.

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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