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Holidays in Iran

Understanding Iran

Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling Shah was forced into exile Conservative clerical forces subsequently crushed Westernization and also any liberal/left-wing influences Iranian student protesters seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981 From 1980 to 1988, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq over disputed territory Key current issues affecting the country include the pace of accepting outside modernizing influences and reconciliation between clerical control of the regime and popular government participation and widespread demands for reform Unemployment among youth is also an issue

Ethnic groups and languages

Humans have inhabited the area that makes up modern Iran since the Stone Age The ancient Persians arrived about 1500 BC, one branch of the great movement of people that also brought northern India and most of Europe their modern populations The name Iran is from the same root as "Aryan" which, until Hitler perverted it, was just an ancient name for those invading peoples Persian or Farsi is an Indo-European language; ancient Persian was related to Sanskrit, ancient Greek, and all the others in that family Modern Farsi is closely related to Dari, one of the two main languages of Afghanistan, and to Tajik, a major language of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Persians are ethnically and linguistically unrelated to their neighbors on the west, the Arabs and Turks

However, Iran has many people other than ethnic Persians The northwestern region, Azerbaijan, is largely populated by Azeris, who are ethnically and linguistically close to Turks Other regions are mostly Kurds or Baluchis, two other Indo-European groups There are also Armenians, Turkomans, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Arabs, and a small community of Jews Afghans have come to Iran for work and education for centuries, and recently many have come as refugees,

There are also two substantial communities of people of Iranian descent in India and Pakistan — Parsis who have been there for over 1000 years, and Iranis who arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries — both Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in Muslim Iran


Throughout history, Persia has generally been an empire, one whose fortunes varied enormously In ancient times, Persia controlled most of what we now call the Middle East, and came close to conquering Greece A few centuries later, Alexander of Macedonia conquered among other things the entire Persian Empire Later, Persia was conquered by the Arabs in the wild expansion of Islam in the centuries immediately after the Prophet; Persian and other languages of the region are still written with the Arabic alphabet About 1250, Persia was overrun by the Mongols Marco Polo passed through just after that, learned Persian, and wrote extensively of the region

At other times, Persia conquered many of her neighbors Her empire often included much of what we now call Central Asia Polo counted Bokhara and Samarkand as Persian cities, and sometimes various other areas A few generations after the Mongols took Persia, the dynasty they founded there took all of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and most of India The Indian term "Moghul" for some of their rulers is from "Mongol", via Persia Even in periods when she did not rule them, Persia has always exerted a large cultural influence on her neighbors, especially Afghanistan and Central Asia

The Safavid dynasty re-united Persia as an independent state in 1501, established Shi'a Islam as the official religion, and ushered in a golden age of Persian culture They were overthrown in 1736 by Nadir Shah, the last great Asian conqueror, who expanded the Empire to again include Afghanistan and much of India His short-lived dynasty and its successor lasted until 1795 Then the Qajar dynasty ruled 1795-1925, a period of heavy pressure from foreign powers, notably Britain and Russia who jointly occupied Iran during World War I In 1906, Qajar rule became a constitutional monarchy and the Majlis Persian for parliament was established

The last dynasty

In 1925, a military coup by Reza Shah established a new "Pahlavi" dynasty, named for the most ancient Persian dynasty around 500 BC His rule was quite nationalistic; he changed the country's name from "Persia" to "Iran" and built a strong military It was also quite authoritarian; he built a powerful secret police and a propaganda apparatus, and did not hesitate to crush dissent He also made considerable efforts toward modernisation, and came into conflict with conservatives over some of it When World War II came, he refused Allied demands for guarantees that Iran would resist if German forces got that far Iran was then invaded by Anglo-Indian forces from the South and Russians from the North, and a railway built largely by US army engineers to bring supplies from the Gulf across Iran to beleagured Russia Reza Shah went off to exile in South Africa, abdicating on the steps of the airplane in favour of his son

The son, Mohammad Shah, continued his father's nationalistic, authoritarian and modernising tendencies However, coming to power in 1941, he had a problem; he needed powerful friends, but who? Given the history, no sane Iranian ruler would choose Britain or Russia Being pro-German had not worked out well for dad and, in 1941, France did not count for much That left the Americans, and he became one of America's most important allies in the region, seen as a "bulwark against Communism", a constitutional monarch, in some ways a progressive ruler — modernising, sometimes comparing himself to Kemal Ataturk who led Turkey's modernisation — and a protector of US and other Western interests He was one of very few Middle Eastern rulers to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel and helped prevent Iranian nationalisation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company On the other hand, he was quite capable of putting Iranian interests before Western ones, as when he was one of the key players in creating OPEC

While in some ways progressive, the Shah was also very much the oriental despot When the Soviets left Northwestern Iran after the war, they left behind something that claimed to be an independent government of Azerbaijan, of course communist The first major conflict of the Cold War came as the Shah, advised by the CIA, brought in troops who crushed that government and the communist party Tudeh in Persian Throughout his reign, his Savak secret police stomped hard on any opposition His regime was also massively corrupt, with his relatives and various others getting hugely rich while much of the country was very poor On the other hand, he did build infrastructure and start various projects to benefit the poor, including a program that sent new university graduates into the countryside as teachers

In theory, Iran under the Shah was still a constitutional monarchy Mohammed Mosaddeq became Prime Minister in 1951 and instituted reforms that included nationalising the oil companies and a land reform program He was overthrown in a 1953 coup backed by the CIA, the British who had large oil interests at stake, and the Shah The Shah and the new Prime Minister reversed the oil nationalisation, but continued with a land reform program However, as well as giving land to the peasants, it worked out that the Shah's family and others with connections got a lot The Ayatollah Khomeni went into exile at this time, originally because of his objections to land reform taking land from the mosques

The Islamic revolution

In 1979, the Shah was overthrown and went off into exile, dying a year later The revolution involved many groups — Tudeh, Mosaddeq-style secular reformers, and various Islamic factions — but came to be led and dominated by a conservative Islamic faction under Ayatollah Khomeni Partly in reaction to the Shah's policies, they were also strongly anti-Western and in particular anti-American

The main divisions of Islam are Shia'a and Sunni The split goes back to a time just after the Prophet's death; would the movement be controlled by some of his leading followers Sunni, or by his family, in particular by his son-in-law Ali Shi'a? There was a long, complex and bloody struggle over this Today, Iran is the only major country that is predominantly and officially Shi'a, though there are Shi'a minorities elsewhere and a Sunni minority in Iran The Iranian government supports the Shi'a Hezbollah movement further west, and is therefore accused by America of fomenting terrorism

One of the major events of Shi'a religious life is the Day of Ashura on the 10th of the month of Moharram; "ashura" means "10th" It commemorates the death of Ali's son Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 61 AH 680 AD This is not a joyful celebration, but a very sober day of atonement Travellers should not play music or act remarkably cheerful in public at this time Ashura is more-or-less the opposite of the Christian "Jesus died for your sins; you are forgiven", closer to "Hussein is dead and you did not save him; you must atone" Traditional activities include parades in which people beat themselves with whips, chains, even swords safe if you are careful, and scalp wounds bleed beautifully Some governments, including the Shah's and the Khameni regime in Iran, have forbidden the more extreme variants of this Some terrorist groups also exploit the religious fervor of the day; Hezbollah's 1983 suicide bomber attack on the US embassy in Lebanon took place on Ashura


Iran has a diverse climate In the northwest, winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures during December and January Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry and hot In the south, winters are mild and the summers are very hot, having average daily temperatures in July exceeding 38° C 100° F and can hit 50° C in parts of the desert On the Khuzestan plain, summer heat is accompanied by high humidity

In general, Iran has an arid climate in which most of the relatively scant annual precipitation falls from October through April In most of the country, yearly precipitation averages 25 centimeters or less The major exceptions are the higher mountain valleys of the Zagros and the Caspian coastal plain, where precipitation averages at least 50 centimeters annually In the western part of the Caspian, rainfall exceeds 100 centimeters annually and is distributed relatively evenly throughout the year


Rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts The highest point is Mount Damavand 5,671 meters Desert: Two great deserts extend over much of central Iran: the Dasht-e Lut is covered largely with sand and rocks, and the Dasht-e Kavir is covered mainly with salt Both deserts are inhospitable and virtually uninhabited Mountain: The Zagros range stretches from the border with the Republic of Armenia in the north-west to the Persian Gulf, and then eastward into Baluchistan Zagros is extremely hard, difficult to access, and populated largely by pastoral nomads The Alborz mountain range, narrower than the Zagros, runs along the southern shore of the Caspian to meet the border ranges of Khorasan to the east Forest: Approximately 11 percent of Iran is forested, most extensively in the Caspian region Here one finds the broad-leafed, vigorous deciduous trees, usually oak, beech, linden, elm, walnut, ash, and hornbeam, as well as a few broad-leafed evergreens Thorny shrubs and fern also aboundThe narrow Caspian coastal plain, in contrast, is covered with rich brown forest soil

Talking in Iran

Persian called fārsi in Persian, فارسی, an Indo-European language, is Iran's national and official language Although Persian is written with a modified Arabic alphabet, the two languages are not related but Persian does contain a very large number of Arabic loanwords, many of which form part of basic Persian vocabulary See "Iranian Nationality" under "Respect"

Many young Iranians in major cities, and almost certainly those working in international travel agents and high-end hotels will speak conversational English but basic Persian phrases will definitely come in handy, particularly in rural areas

Road signs are often double signed in English, but few other signs are As an extra challenge, most Persian signage uses an ornate calligraphic script that bears little resemblance to its typed form This can make comparing typed words in phrase books--such as 'bank' and 'hotel'--to signs on buildings quite difficult However it is still worth memorising the Persian script for a few key words such as restaurant, guesthouse, and hotel see relevant sections below for the script

Be aware that Kurdish and Azeri languages are also spoken in areas of large Kurdish and Azeri populations

See also: Persian phrasebook

What to see in Iran

Ancient cities

  • Hegmatane or Ekbatana - The capital of the ancient Meds In modern-day Hamedan
  • Persepolise - Probably the most important historical site in Iran The capital of the Achaemenid Persian Empire built by Darius Near Shiraz
  • Pasargad or Pasargadae - The initial capital of the Persian Empire built by Cyrus the Great Near Shiraz
  • Susa - Built by Elamites an then adopted by Achaemenid Persian and Sasanid empires, it has three layers of civilization in it Located in the modern-day town of Shush in the Khuzestan province
  • Chogha Zanbil- A ziggurat build by Elamites Near Shush
  • Sialk Mound Tappeh Sialk - More than 7000 years old, this is world's oldest ziggurat In suburbs of Kashan
  • Jiroft

Tombs of some famous people

Cyrus the Great in Pasargad near Shiraz Avicenna in Hamedan Khayyam in Neyshaboor near Mashhad Prophet Daniel in Susa Shush Mordechai and Esther in Hamedan Saadi and Hafez famous Persian poets in Shiraz To this list one may add the ornate shrine of "Imam Reza" the eighth of Shiite imams the only one buried in Iran in Mashhad



  • Sadabad A palace complex where Mohammad-Reza Shah and his family used to live Some palaces converted to museums now In Tehran
  • Shamsolemare

Armenian churches

Vank Cathedral in Isfahan Saint Thaddeus Monastery in West Azerbaijan Province

What to do in Iran


  • Norouz Eve - The beginning of Iranian New Year and the start of the Spring On the 20th or 21st of March It is rooted in the Zoroastrian religion
  • Chehar-shanbe Suri Wednesday Festtival - On the last Wednesday before Noruz People set up fires The traditional festival involves jumping over the fire while saying a specific sentence Nowadays it involves a lot of firecrackers
  • Nimeye Sha'ban - The birthday of the last of Shiite imams It is celebrated according to lunar Islamic calendar so its actual date is different every year


in Dizin piste North of Tehran reachable via Chalous road in winter


Iran has coastline along the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf A popular place for its beaches is Kish Island in the Persian Gulf

Buying stuff in Iran

ATM's in Iran do not accept foreign non-Iranian cards except some which accept those from Arab state banks, so bring all the money you might need in cash, preferably in US dollars or Euros


The rial ریال is the official currency of Iran, however to save time in a high-inflation economy prices are most commonly quoted in toman تومان One toman is equal to ten rials In February 2010, US$1 and €1 can get you about 10,000 and 13,750 rials respectively

Coins are issued in values of 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 rials with banknotes produced in 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 If you remember that a green 10000 note is equal to a dollar you won't get confused For large amounts you will see Iran Cheques being used, these are in 500,000 $50 and 1,000,000 $100rial denominations They are now used in the same way as cash

As a general guide, written prices are given in rials and prices quoted in conversation are in tomans To confuse you even further, shopkeepers will often omit the denomination of high prices, so you may be told a jar of coffee costs 2 tomans meaning 2,000 tomans or IR 20,000 and that a fine rug will cost 3 tomans meaning 3,000,000 tomans or IR 30,000,000

Most travellers spend the first few days of their trip coming to grips with this mind-boggling system, and money changers on the border will often exploit this confusion to rip you off Be careful, and if in doubt, always ask a shopkeeper or moneychanger if they are quoting a price in rials or tomans

A redenomination of rial is scheduled to start in 2010 New Iranian toman will be worth 10000 rials After three years of even bigger currency chaos, this should make numbers smaller and life easier

Carrying money

Iranians can not use major credit cards due to US sanctions, so bring enough hard currency for the duration of your stay US dollars and euros are the most useful, and new and large USD 100 or EUR 100 or higher bills in good condition are preferred and usually get a better rate Trade embargoes mean that banks will not forward cash advances on your foreign credit cards and they are only accepted by select stores for large purchases, such as Persian rugs Most will be happy to forward you some cash on your credit card at the same time as your purchase If you are desperate for cash, you can also try asking these shops to extend you the same favour without buying a rug or souvenir, but expect to pay dearly for the luxury

Travellers' cheques Although in theory central banks in provincial capitals are able to cash them, the paperwork and time involved make them impractical for tourist use

There is a possibility to get a pre-paid ATM card from Bank Melli in Iran if you are concerned with carrying too much cash on you

Money and daily life

There is little point in risking the black market moneychangers who loiter outside of major banks and only offer marginally better rates than the banks Central banks in most cities will change money for you, but the process can be a drawn out affair requiring signatures from countless officials and a fair deal of running around

A better compromise are the private exchange offices sarāfi scattered around most large cities and major tourist centres Although their rates are comparable to those of the banks, they are far quicker and, unlike their black market colleagues, they can be traced later on if something goes wrong

The most widely-accepted currency is the US dollar $, but euros€ and UK Sterling Pound£are also widely used Other currencies are harder to change $100 unfolded notes attract the highest prices, and you will be quoted lower rates for any old or ripped notes

Bargain ruthlessly when buying handcrafts, rugs or big ticket items and modestly when hailing private taxis In most other aspects of life prices are fixed Tipping is generally not expected, but locals will generally round up the bill in taxis and add around 10% in classy restaurants Porters and bellboys will expect IR 2,000 - 3,000 $2-3 A discreet gift of a few thousand tomāns may help grease the wheels of Iranian society and serve to thank an extraordinarily helpful local, but bakhsheeh and bribing are not a major part of Iranian life

You won't be able to escape the government-sanctioned dual pricing system that applies to accommodation and some tourist attactions in Iran; foreigners often pay up to ten times the price quoted to locals However thanks to the government's recent commendable efforts to eliminate 'foreigner' prices from many tourist attractions, most notably Persepolis, low food and transport costs make Iran a cheap travel destination

If you are prepared to stay in the cheapest guesthouses, travel only by bus and eat only at fast food outlets or kabābis, you can get by in Iran on a minimum of around IR 100,000 about $10 per day If you want to eat a decent restaurant meal every now and then and stay in mid-range accommodation, a more realistic budget is around IR 250,000 about $25 If you want to eat and sleep in luxury and fly between major sights, you can easily chew through IR 700,000 about $70per day

Food and eating in Iran

Meal times in Iran vary considerably from those in Europe and the US Lunch can be served from 1:00 - 3:00PM and dinner is often eaten after 9:00PM These and other social occasions in Iran are often long, drawn-out affairs conducted in a relatively relaxed tempo, often involving pastries, fruit and possibly nuts As it is considered rude to refuse what is served, visitors should accept the items offered, even if they do not intend to consume them

The importation and consumption of alcohol is strictly banned Penalties are severe Religious minorities, however, are allowed to manufacture and consume alcohol, but not to sell or import it Pork and pork products are forbidden and, like alcohol, their import is illegal

The good news for travellers is that Iranian cuisine is superb A wide range of influences from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, Europe and the Middle East have created a diverse, relatively healthy range of dishes that focus on fresh produce and aromatic herbs The bad news, however, is that Iranians prefer to eat at home, rather than in restaurants, so decent eateries are scarce and stick to a repetitive selection of dishes mainly kebabs An invitation to an Iranian home for dinner will be a definite highlight of your stay When visiting an Iranian household for the first time or on a special occasion it is customary for Iranians to bring a small gift Flowers, sweets or pastries are popular gift choices

Traditional cuisine

Fragrant rice برنج, berenj is the staple of Iranian food Boiled and then steamed, it is often coloured with saffron or flavoured with a variety of spices When served plain as an accompaniment it is known as chelo چلو The two most common meat / chelo combinations are kebab variations chelo kabāb, چلو کباب or rotisserie chicken chelo morgh, چلو مرغ Flavoured rice, known as polo, is often served as a main course or as an accompaniment to a meat dish Examples include shirin polo flavoured with orange zest, young cherries and honey glazed carrots, the broad-bean and herb heavy bāghli polo and sabzi polo laced with parsley, dill and mint

The rice and kebab dish chelo kabāb چلو کباب and its half-dozen variations are the most common and often the only items on Iranian restaurant menus A grilled skewer of meat is served on a bed of fluffy rice, and accompanied by an array of condiments You can add butter, grilled tomatoes and a sour spice known as somāgh to your rice, while some restaurants also provide a raw egg yolk Raw onion and fresh basil are used to clear your palate between mouthfuls Variations in kabāb dishes come from the meats they are served with You will commonly see:

  • Kabāb koobideh كباب كوبيده - a kebab of minced beef, shredded onion and spices
  • Kabāb barg كباب برگ - pieces of lamb marinated in lemon juice and shredded onion
  • Kabāb makhsoos كباب مخصوص - usually the most expensive option, this big kebab uses the highest quality meat
  • Joojeh kabāb جوجه كباب - a skewer of chicken pieces marinated in lemon juice and saffron
  • Kabāb bakhtiāri كباب ب‍ختیارِی - great for the indecisive eater, this is a skewer of alternating chicken and lamb pieces

At home people most often eat rice with a thick stew khoresht, خورشت containing a modest amount of meat There are dozens of khoresht variations such as the sweet and sour fessenjān made from ground walnuts and pomegranate syrup, ghormeh-sabzi based on fresh herbs, dried limes and kidney beans, gheimeh flavoured with split-peas and often garnished with French fries, and the sweet sib-āloo which uses apples and plums

Hearty Iranian soups āsh, آش are meals in themselves The most popular is the vegetarian āsh reshteh آش رشته made from herbs, chickpeas and thick noodles, and garnished with yoghurt and fried onions

Flat bread nān, نان is another pillar of Iranian food It is served at breakfast with herbs, feta cheese and a variety of jams, or as an accompaniment to meals Sangak سنگك is a dimpled variety cooked on a pebbled oven while lavāsh لواش is a thin and bland staple

International Cuisine

There are several good international restaurants which offer Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French food as well as vegetarian menus in Tehran and other major cities

Fast food and snacks

Most food outlets in Iran are either kabābis or fast food outlets serving a standard fare of burgers, sandwiches, felafels or pizza پیتزا A burger and a soft drink at a snack shop will fill you up at lunchtime for around IR 15,000, while pizzas start at IR 20,000

Many teahouses see Drink below also serve traditional snacks and light meals The most common of these is ābgusht آبگوشت a hot pot made from lamb, chickpeas and dried limes that is also known as dizi, also the name of the dish in which its served You will be given a bowl the dizi containing the ābgusht and another, smaller one Drain the broth into the smaller bowl and eat it like a soup with the bread provided Then pound the remaining meat and vegetables into a paste with the pestle provided and eat with even more bread, pieces raw onion and wads of fresh herbs

KFC is also available in Iran, known as BFC or SFC

Sweets and desserts

The neverending demand for dentists in Iran lies testament to the country's obssession with sweets and pastries, known collectively as shirini شیرینی

Iranian baghlava tends to be harder and more crystalline than its Turkish equivalent while the pistachio noughat called gaz گز is an Isfahan speciality Sohan is a rich pistachio brittle popular in Qom, and freshly-baked pastries are often taken as gifts to people's houses Lavāshak fruit leathers are delicious fruit leathers made from dried plums

Honey-saffron and pistachio are just two local flavours of ice cream, while fāloodeh فالوده is a deliciously refreshing sorbet made from rosewater and vermicelli noodles made from starch, served with lashings of lemon juice

Special needs

Given that most travellers are stuck eating kebabs for much of their trip, vegetarians will have a particularly difficult time in Iran Most snack shops sell felafels فلافل and garden salads sālād-e-fassl, سالاد فصل and greengrocers are common Most ash varieties are meat-free and filling, as are most variations of kookoo کوکو, the Iranian take on the frittata The phrases man vegetarian hastam I am vegetarian and bedoon-e goosht without meat will come in handy

It's a safe bet that all food in Iran is halal, but those seeking a kosher or other diet may have some trouble

Drinking in Iran

Black tea chāi, چای is the national drink of alcohol-free Iran It is served strong and with crystallised or cubed sugar ghand, قند which is held artfully between the teeth while tea is sipped through You can try asking for milk in your tea, but expect nothing but strange looks or a big delay in return

Tea houses chāi khāneh, چای خانه are favourite local haunt for men and less commonly families to drink tea and puff away on a water pipe

Lovers of coffee ghahveh, قهوه have little to cheer in Iran but their choices have increased recently Where available, it is served Turkish style, French coffee or espresso Imported instant coffee nescāffe, نسكافه and instant Cappuccino are available also

A wide variety of fruit juices āb miveh, آب ميوه and drinks are available from shops and street vendors including cherry cordial sharbat ālbāloo, شربت آلبالو and banana milkshakes shir moz, شير موز

Soft drinks are widely available, both international makes such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and their brand names including 7up, Sprite, Fanta, etc, and local makes such as ZamZam Note that "Coca-Cola Original" and "Pepsi Original" etc are NOT made of original The Coca-Cola Company's and PepsiCo's ingredients and taste exactly the same as ZamZam

Doogh دوغ is a sour drink made from yoghurt, salt, and water sometimes gaseous and sometimes flavoured with mint or other plants It takes some getting used to, but will rehydrate you quickly in the heat of Iran's summer It is the same as Turkish Ayran

Drinking alcohol is illegal, and if seen by police may be met with punishment Of course, you will not find any place in Iran that openly sells alcohol Drinking is, however, common among some of people especially during parties, weddings and is begrudgingly tolerated for use among the tiny Christian community provided it's not bought and sold for profit An interesting item of trivia is that both wine and distilled spirits are believed to have first originated in Iran Non-alcoholic drinks are widely available

Accommodation in Iran

Accommodations in Iran range from luxurious, if a little weary, five star hotels هتل in major cities to the small, cheap mosāferkhuneh مسافرخانه and mehmānpazir مهماﻧپذیر guesthouses that are littered about most centres Moreover, staff in mosāferkhuneh often are so happy to provide room for non-Iranians, as these facilities have a recommendation from local governments to serve all tourists For longer stays, villas with all facilities including central air conditioning, pool and Internet connection can be rented in Tehran and all other major cities at reasonable prices

Working in Iran

Foreigners with special expertise and skills have little difficulty in obtaining permits Work permits are issued, extended or renewed for a period of one year In special cases, temporary work permits valid for a maximum period of three months may be issued An exit permit must be obtained for a stay longer than three months

The maximum working week is 44 hours, with no more than eight hours any single day unless overtime compensation is provided Overtime could not exceed four hours per day Friday is the weekly day of rest Overtime is payable at 40 per cent above the normal hourly wage There are allowances for shift work equivalent to 10, 15 or 225 per cent of a worker's wage, depending on working shift eg evening, morning and night

Workers are entitled to public holidays and a paid annual one-month leave For workers with less than a year of employment, annual leaves are calculated in proportion to the actual length of service Furthermore, every worker is entitled to take one full month of paid leave or one month of unpaid leave if no leave is available once during his or her working life in order to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca

The employment of workers less than 15 years of age is prohibited Young workers between 15 and 18 years of age must undergo a medical examination by the Social Security Organisation prior to commencing employment Women are entitled to a 90-day maternity leave

There is a minimum national wage applicable to each sector of activity fixed by the Supreme Labour Council Workers and employers have the right to establish guild societies Collective bargaining is allowed Membership in the social security system for all employees is compulsory

To have a valid contract concluded under the Law, the following provisions must be included:

  • 1 Type of Work, vocation or duty that must be undertaken by the worker;
  • 2 Basic compensation and supplements thereto;
  • 3 Working hours, holidays and leaves;
  • 4 Place of performance of duties;
  • 5 Probationary period, if any;
  • 6 Date of conclusion of contract;
  • 7 Duration of employment; and
  • 8 Any other terms and conditions required according to nature of employment

The employer may require the employee to be subject to a probationary period However, the probation time may not exceed one month for unskilled workers and three months for skilled and professional workers During the probation period, either party may immediately terminate the employment relationship without cause or payment of severance pay The only caveat being that if the employer terminates the relationship, he must pay the employee for the entire duration of the probation period

Business customs

  • Iranians are very formal and it will take several meetings before a more personal relationship can be established This is particularly true for government officials, representatives of state controlled companies and foundations
  • Negotiations will be long, detailed and protracted
  • Exchange of gifts is a tradition among private sector business people
  • Along with the social customs, certain additional business etiquettes should be realized prior to interaction with Iranian businessmen Although officials of the Islamic Republic are not allowed to wear a tie, it is very common for visiting foreigners to do so though proper business attire need not include a tie in Iran
  • Women must adhere to the Islamic dress code referred to below It is important to note that most officials will not shake hands with a member of the opposite sex, especially in public It is highly recommended not to create an awkward situation by extending one's hand The same is true for private citizens who are particularly religious

Cities in Iran

abadan  abadeh  abdanan  abhar  abyek  abyek  agha jari  ahar  ahvaz  akbarabad  alashtar  aligudarz  alvand  amir kala  amol  arak  ardabil  ardakan  ardistan  asadabad  ashtian  astaneh-ye ashrafiyeh  astara  azad shahr  azna  babol  babol sar  bafq  baft  bahar  bam  bandar-e anzali  bandar-e lengeh  bandar-e torkaman  baneh  bardsir  behbahan  behshahr  bijar  birjand  bojnurd  bonab  borazjan  borujan  borujerd  bukan  bushehr  chabahar  chalus  chenaran  damavand  damghan  darab  deh dasht  dehloran  delijan  dezful  do gonbadan  dowlatabad  eqbaliyeh  esfahan  esfarayen  eslamshahr  falavarjan  faridan  fariman  farrokhshahr  farsan  fasa  fereydun kenar  fereydunshahr  firuzabad  garmi  garmsar  gerash  golpayegan  gonabad  gonbad-e qabus  gorgan  hamadan  harsin  hashtgerd  hashtrud  hendijan  ilam  iranshahr  jahrom  javanrud  jiroft  juybar  kalaleh  kamyaran  kangavar  karaj  kashmar  kazerun  kelishad  kerman  kermanshah  khalkhal  khash  khomeynishahr  khomeyn  khonsar  khormuj  khorramabad  khorramshahr  khoy  kuhdasht  lahijan  langarud  lar  mahabad  maku  malard  maragheh  marand  marivan  marv dasht  mashhad  masjed-e soleyman  mehran  mehriz  meybod  miandoab  mianeh  minab  minudasht  nahavand  najafabad  naqadeh  neka  neyriz  neyshabur  nurabad  nurabad  nur  omidiyeh  orumiyeh  oshnaviyeh  parsabad  paveh  pishva  qarchak  qazvin  qeshm  qom  qorveh  quchan  rafsanjan  ramhormoz  ramsar  ramshir  rasht  ravar  rehnan  robat karim  rudbar  rudsar  sabzevar  salmas  sanandaj  saqqez  sarab  sarakhs  sari  saveh  semirom  semnan  shadegan  shahr-e babak  shahr-e kord  shahreza  shahriyar  shahrud  shiraz  shirvan  shush  shushtar  sirjan  sonqor  susangerd  tabas  tabriz  tafresh  taft  takab  takestan  talesh  taybad  tehran  tonekabon  torbat-e jam  tuysarkan  varamin  yazd  zabol  zahedan  zanjan  zarand  

What do you think about Iran?

How expensive is Iran?
Meal in inexpensive restaurant4.41 USD
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)19.07 USD
McDonalds meal3.6 USD
Local beer (0.5 draft)7.43 USD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 5.53 USD
Cappuccino2.48 USD
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)0.41 USD
Water (0.33 bottle)0.26 USD
Milk (1l)0.92 USD
Fresh bread (500g)0.52 USD
White Rice (1kg)2.49 USD
Eggs (12) 1.56 USD
Local Cheese (1kg) 4.35 USD
Chicken Breast (1kg) 4 USD
Apples (1kg) 1.18 USD
Oranges (1kg) 1.27 USD
Tomato (1kg) 0.92 USD
Potato (1kg) 0.83 USD
Lettuce (1 head) 0.6 USD
Water (1.5l)0.42 USD
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 36.33 USD
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)7.89 USD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 5.25 USD
Cigarettes2.46 USD
One way local bus ticket0.17 USD
Monthly pass for bus16.52 USD
Taxi start0.4 USD
Taxi 1km0.33 USD
Taxi 1hour waiting3.92 USD
Gasoline (1 liter) 0.33 USD
Utilities for a "normal" apartment35.24 USD
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 11.5 USD
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 372.62 USD
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 208.65 USD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 909.85 USD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 494 USD, your travel companion

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