Iran

Oct 26th, 2019, 05:37 AM
  #1  
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Iran









Iran must be the most misrepresented country in the world. Forget everything you've read. In the West we believe the hype, the fake news. In Iran the people don't. It is the most welcoming country I have visited and I was treated with so much kindness and respect. It was also the country I've felt the safest. These photos show some of modern Iran.

I want to dispel a few myths about Iran. Firstly the burkha is not worn in Iran and never has been. Yes the wearing of headscarves is compulsory. There is a big movement at present to repel this law. It was 2 men who told me about this and who support it. Other men apologised to me for the fact that I had to wear one. Some like wearing the traditional hihab but it should be a choice. Young women use it as a fashion accessory and perch it on the back of their head and use lots of colour.

Second myth - women are totally oppressed in Iran. Women go to university, drive, have careers from architects to business women. The one professions barred for women are judges and Ayatollahs. They can marry or not marry, it is acceptable to be single.. Young couples walk around holding hands or sitting chatting on benches. Women walk around alone. For me as a single woman I could walk around anywhere on my own day or night and feel completely safe, for me that is freedom. I'd say that women are treated with respect but it's more than that, everyone is treated with respect.

Yes there are archaic laws in Iran. After the revolution they were strictly enforced and there were beatings. Now a vast majority ignore these or push the boundaries to the maximum. A blind eye is often turned. There aren't stonings or beheadings it's one of the most tolerant places i've been When I'm talking here it is about how society is not the government or laws. I was surprised at how much open criticism there was of the government from men and women of all ages

I've seen some fantastic sights but what I'll remember most is the warmth, kindness and hospitality of the people I have had thousands of welcomes to Iran or the name of each particular city, hundreds of handshakes, hugs, kisses on the cheek and ticklea under the chin.

I have been invited to share food and conversation, been invited to people's houses, meet their family and even watch wedding videos. I've had thousands of welcome to Iran's, handshakes, hugs, kisses on the cheek and even been tickled under the chin by one old lady. The hospitality was overwhelming.

lynnstephenson1288 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2019, 03:33 PM
  #2  
 
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Thank you for sharing and for giving us a first-hand account of a country there is limited information about. I assume you used the services of a tour operator - which one? During which month did you go?
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Oct 26th, 2019, 10:09 PM
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Thank you for the beautiful pictures and your perspective on their society.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 12:17 AM
  #4  
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Iran

I went on a Woman's only tour with Intrepid travel. I got back on Friday. October was a good month to go as the temperature was perfect. Unfortunately, you can't go to Iran Independently, you have to go on a tour or you can hire a guide and driver. They put in the request for your visa authorisation. I will be writing more posts with more photos and details of my trip.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 06:02 AM
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Unfortunately, you can't go to Iran Independently,
True for Americans, and I think for Canadians and Brits, not true for everyone.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 05:28 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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I'm not sure why you think Fodorites believe the false generalizations about Iran that seem to think you need to dispel, but I appreciate your observations on Iran. And thanks for refraining from bold font this time.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 07:04 PM
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Its not hard to understand why there are generalizations about Iran given its government. To me the OP was distinguishing between people and politics. I did not take that as a slight to members here. I cared for few Iranian patients and their families treated us exceptionally well.

As for the font choice I rather liked it bold.

Different strokes for different folks. JM2C.

Again thanks for your comments.

Last edited by jacketwatch; Oct 27th, 2019 at 07:16 PM.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 08:08 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
Its not hard to understand why there are generalizations about Iran given its government. ... I did not take that as a slight to members here.
I didn't take it as a slight. Just as a sign that the OP may not understand her audience. By framing it as she did, she might discourage knowledgeable people from reading her comments. I know that I almost quit reading, but decided to keep on because we get so very few posts about Iran on this forum.

Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
As for the font choice I rather liked it bold.
jacketwatch, you can adjust the appearance on YOUR screen easily.

Last edited by kja; Oct 27th, 2019 at 08:11 PM.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 08:32 PM
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I hope you have more pics!

Last edited by jacketwatch; Oct 27th, 2019 at 08:53 PM.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 09:57 PM
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I agree with the sentiment expressed by others, and I feel like this trip report unfortunately makes just as absurdly false generalizations as those that it tries to dispel.

We had a wonderful two weeks in Iran, and agree with the OP that the Iranian people are absolutely fantastic and possibly the most hospitable people in the world. OP correctly captures the feeling of being in Iran -- the welcomes, the handshakes, the invites for tea, etc.

But this is just as much a false generalization as any:

Yes there are archaic laws in Iran. After the revolution they were strictly enforced and there were beatings. Now a vast majority ignore these or push the boundaries to the maximum. A blind eye is often turned. There aren't stonings or beheadings it's one of the most tolerant places i've been When I'm talking here it is about how society is not the government or laws. I was surprised at how much open criticism there was of the government from men and women of all ages
Yes, the educated, Westernized people in the larger cities despise the theocratic government, and they can openly criticise the government to each other.

However, it would be a huge mistake to take from this that the government is in any way tolerant. According to many recent reports (e.g. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/ne...ing-mans-hand/ ; Iranian Civil Rights Activist Arash Sadeghi Repeatedly Denied Medical Treatment for "Paralyzed" Arm ), the government and/or religious extremists are still engaging in absolutely barbaric forms of punishment. The government also engages in massive censorship, and shuts down many online platforms that are either anti-government or allow people to engage in anti-government activities.

I highly, highly doubt that Iran is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. We didn't see anyone in Iran appearing or acting outwardly gay, which either: (1) confirms Ahmadenijad's famous statement that "there are no gays in Iran"; or (2) suggests that being gay in public is either not allowed or not acceptable. Along these lines, I have no doubt that the Iranians, as nice as they are, would have been totally intolerant of us making jokes about Islam or Muhammad. None of this means that Iranians are by any means bad people. It's just a totally different society, and the Western notion of "tolerance" just isn't a value in Iran in the same way it is in the Western world.

In sum, while an American will be perfectly safe as a tourist in Iran, let's not kid ourselves and forget the fact that the Iranian government is still a brutal regime. False generalizations about Iran -- good or bad -- are simply not helpful. But everyone should visit Iran if they can!

Last edited by LAX_Esq; Oct 27th, 2019 at 10:02 PM.
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Oct 27th, 2019, 10:20 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
I hope you have more pics!
I'm disappointed in you, jacketwatch. Surely, with your medical experience, you realize that for some people, switching from reading regular font (with occasional bold) to reading entirely bold font is not just visually challenging, but actually painful?

Last edited by kja; Oct 27th, 2019 at 10:37 PM.
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Oct 28th, 2019, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I'm disappointed in you, jacketwatch. Surely, with your medical experience, you realize that for some people, switching from reading regular font (with occasional bold) to reading entirely bold font is not just visually challenging, but actually painful?
If you have anything else to say thats personal use a pm please.
Lets stay on topic for this thread.
Thank you.
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Oct 29th, 2019, 12:47 PM
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"We didn't see anyone in Iran appearing or acting outwardly gay, which either: (1) confirms Ahmadenijad's famous statement that "there are no gays in Iran"; or (2) suggests that being gay in public is either not allowed or not acceptable."

How could you(and Mr. Ahmedinejad) not see any gays in Iran is a mystery to me.

I travelled around the country for 2 weeks in 2001 and could see quite a few gays, and at least one of them was quite open about this. I mean he was not wearing a T-shirt "it's cool to be gay", but once he opened his mouth it was obvious that he was gay and he worked in the tourist office of Shiraz, so was not sort of hiding. I was a tender 21 year old boy and I had at least 2 guys trying to pick me up while I was sitting in a park(perhaps it was a local cruising park which I didn't know). one of them a university student the other a creepy old man.

A traveller I know had seen so many gays in Qazvin province that he said it has to be the gayest region of the whole world(I he travelled around a quite a bit).

Last edited by BDKR; Oct 29th, 2019 at 12:50 PM.
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Oct 29th, 2019, 01:53 PM
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Lets stay on topic for this thread.
Seems it's OK for jacketwatch to make off-topic comments, but not others...

I would find the notion that Iran is one of the most tolerant countries in the world laughable in the extreme, if it were not so sad that it is not. Especially for women.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
"We didn't see anyone in Iran appearing or acting outwardly gay, which either: (1) confirms Ahmadenijad's famous statement that "there are no gays in Iran"; or (2) suggests that being gay in public is either not allowed or not acceptable."

How could you(and Mr. Ahmedinejad) not see any gays in Iran is a mystery to me.

I travelled around the country for 2 weeks in 2001 and could see quite a few gays, and at least one of them was quite open about this. I mean he was not wearing a T-shirt "it's cool to be gay", but once he opened his mouth it was obvious that he was gay and he worked in the tourist office of Shiraz, so was not sort of hiding. I was a tender 21 year old boy and I had at least 2 guys trying to pick me up while I was sitting in a park(perhaps it was a local cruising park which I didn't know). one of them a university student the other a creepy old man.

A traveller I know had seen so many gays in Qazvin province that he said it has to be the gayest region of the whole world(I he travelled around a quite a bit).
To be fair, I think we probably observed similar things and are just describing it differently. We saw a few guys who were likely gays, but they weren't definitively "being gay" in public (e.g., "it's cool to be gay" t-shirt, PDA with another man, telling people they're gay).

Related anecdote: We asked our guide/driver, who was by all means a very liberal guy by Iranian standards and wasn't afraid to talk to us about his beliefs (hated the government, didn't think much of religion/Islam, etc.), about the Ahmadenijad comment. He said he thinks Ahmadenijad is pretty much right and there are either no or very few people in Iran who are "actually gay." He said young guys are experimenting with other guys to deal with their urges because it's difficult to find girls willing to have premarital relations given the Islamic culture. Agree or disagree, but is the view of one quite liberal Iranian.

I guess we did miss the cruising parks, though!

Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
I would find the notion that Iran is one of the most tolerant countries in the world laughable in the extreme, if it were not so sad that it is not. Especially for women.
Exactly. OP does a major disservice with the false generalizations.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 03:38 PM
  #16  
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Iran

I have to admit I was a little taken aback by some of the responses here. I have posted on other forums and have had so many responses from Iranians thanking me for understanding their country' and showing it in a positive light, as well as welcoming me back to Iran.

Firstly mine were not generalisations. I was treated with respect by everyone I met in Iran, that's fact, actually not strictly true did meet one very grumpy train employee.

I thought I'd made it clear that women are discriminated against massively in law but are treated and equality in everyday life.

I wasn't saying that anyone was gullible, just that we receive so little information Even by tour company I was told I wouldn't be able to go go out of my hotel room without a guide, complete rubbish.

I have been to 141 countries and Iran is by far the most hospitable and safest country I have visited.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lynnstephenson1288 View Post
I have to admit I was a little taken aback by some of the responses here. I have posted on other forums and have had so many responses from Iranians thanking me for understanding their country' and showing it in a positive light, as well as welcoming me back to Iran.

Firstly mine were not generalisations. I was treated with respect by everyone I met in Iran, that's fact, actually not strictly true did meet one very grumpy train employee.

I thought I'd made it clear that women are discriminated against massively in law but are treated and equality in everyday life.

I wasn't saying that anyone was gullible, just that we receive so little information Even by tour company I was told I wouldn't be able to go go out of my hotel room without a guide, complete rubbish.

I have been to 141 countries and Iran is by far the most hospitable and safest country I have visited.
Just have to take some things with the proverbial grain of salt and move on. Sigh.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 04:36 PM
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"I have been to 141 countries and Iran is by far the most hospitable and safest country I have visited."

Wow, 141 countries!

What would be the 2nd and 3rd most hospitable and safest countries from those?

I've been to only 40 countries, but I had the same impression of Iran being the safest and most hospitable, in fact I have yet to find a traveller who was disappointed with Iran.

For me Syria is or rather was(pity the war) on the 2nd place for safety and hospitality. I visited mostly European and Middle Eastern countries.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 05:26 PM
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OP: nobody is questioning that that Iran is hospitable, safe for tourists, an amazing place to visit, etc. We're questioning your claims that Iran is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, your assertion that the Iranian government doesn't engage in stonings and beheadings, your implication that Iran is ahead of the curve on human/women's rights, etc. These two concepts aren't mutually exclusive; Iran can be both: 1) filled with warm, hospitable people / safe for tourists / a great trip, and 2) ruled by a brutal and backward regime.

Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
For me Syria is or rather was(pity the war) on the 2nd place for safety and hospitality. I visited mostly European and Middle Eastern countries.
Went to Syria in 2010, before the war, and it was simply amazing. Among the places I've been, I'd say Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran are all in a tie for first place for hospitality / nice people. Hospitality is thoroughly ingrained into that part of the world, as militant/conflicted as it can be.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 07:53 PM
  #20  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by lynnstephenson1288 View Post
In the West we believe the hype, the fake news.
Originally Posted by lynnstephenson1288 View Post
I want to dispel a few myths about Iran. Firstly the burkha is not worn in Iran and never has been.
Originally Posted by lynnstephenson1288 View Post
mine were not generalisations.
Really? You don't consider these to be generalizations? Because I must admit, that's how they came across to me. And while I didn't take offense (I didn't take them personally -- I took them to be the remarks of an ill-informed and potentially arrogant blogger), I will say that they could be construed as rather insulting generalizations -- suggesting that people believe only hype, fake news, and myths. Those statements almost made me stop reading. And I'm not even going to try to touch your more controversial generalizations / not generalizations.


Originally Posted by lynnstephenson1288 View Post
I have to admit I was a little taken aback by some of the responses here. ...
Originally Posted by kja View Post
the OP may not understand her audience.
If you want to share your observations (as you went on to do), I'm sure many of us will find them interesting. If you want to place them in a broader or more generalized context, IMO, you risk marginalizing yourself and your observations. And if you chose to offer political commentary, I think you can count on criticism. I could be wrong.

Last edited by kja; Oct 30th, 2019 at 08:40 PM.
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