Travel Warning – Iran January 03, 2008

Published by Chris Harvey February 21, 2008

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

January 03, 2008

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Iran. Dual national Iranian-American citizens may encounter difficulty in departing Iran. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Iran issued May 31, 2007.

Some elements of the Iranian regime and the population remain hostile to the United States. As a result, American citizens may be subject to harassment or arrest while traveling or residing in Iran. Recently, Iranian authorities prevented a number of Iranian-American citizen academics, journalists, and others who traveled to Iran for personal reasons from leaving for several months, and in some cases detained and imprisoned them on various charges, including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Americans of Iranian origin should consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning travel to Iran. Iranian authorities may deny dual nationals access to the United States Interests Section in Tehran, because they are considered to be solely Iranian citizens.
The Iranian regime continues to repress its minority religious and ethnic groups, including Bahai, Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, and others. Consequently, some areas within the country where these minorities reside, including the Baluchistan border area near Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Kurdish northwest of the country, and areas near the Iraqi border, remain unsafe. Armed attacks on the road between Bam and Kerman in May 2007 also render this area unsafe.

Large-scale demonstrations have taken place in various regions throughout Iran over the past several years as a result of a sometimes volatile political climate. U.S. citizens who travel to Iran despite this Travel Warning should exercise caution.

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to American citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran. Neither U.S. passports nor visas to the United States are issued in Tehran. The Iranian Government does not recognize dual citizenship and generally does not permit the Swiss to provide protective services for U.S. citizens who are also Iranian nationals. U.S. citizens of Iranian origin who are considered by Iran to be Iranian citizens have been detained and harassed by Iranian authorities. Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and prosecution.

Americans who travel or reside in Iran despite this Travel Warning are strongly encouraged to register through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. If they are in Tehran, American citizens may also register in person at the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy at Africa Avenue, West Farzan Street, no. 59, Tehran. The local telephone numbers are 021-8878-2964 and 021-8879-2364, fax 021-8877-3265, e-mail: tie.vertretung@eda.admin.ch.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Iran, and the current Worldwide Caution and Middle East and North Africa Travel Alerts, which are located on the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may also obtain updated information on travel and security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or Canada, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444.

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