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Have you ever travelled to Iran? Did you travel with your family? Did you take your children with you? Which cities did you visit? Would you do it again? Any pictures to share with ZanAmu visitors? When is a good time to visit Iran? How did you like the dress code? ...

Well, if you have an answer to any of the above questions or related topics or you would like to share your travel experience with us, submit ZanAmu Form, also visit Travel To Iran for travel tips & Guides and visit Family Travel Experiences for more information.

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  Lived in Iran in 60s, travelled to Iran two years ago, no problem!

Name = Pauline P.
Years Married = 44
Number of Children = 4
Country & City = Canada
Category of Submission = Travel

Subject = Travel and living in Iran I was so amazed to find this website. How I wish we had Internet in the days I lived in Iran. I met my Iranian husband when I was 18 years old in the UK and lived in Iran for six years in the late sixties. We have been married for 44 years and still going strong.

Originally I lived in Tehran. His family were quite traditional and within a year I was speaking Farsi, cooking persian food, going out alone in Tehran. All my neighbours were Iranian and it was with their kindness and help that I learnt Farsi so quickly.

I lived in Tehran, Ahwaz, Gachsaran and Haft Tapeh. Haft Tapeh is a Sugar Plantation in Khusistan near Ahwaz where I lived for three years. There was a great mix of nationalities there and I would love to hear from someone else who knows Haft Tapeh.

Two years ago I went to Iran for a three week visit and absolutely loved every minute of the trip. Although technically I have been Iranian, British, and Canadian I went on my British passport and had no Problem em getting a visa I didn't want to leave and found that my farsi was still pretty good. Everywhere my sister and I went people stopped and surrounded us amazed to hear an older "foreign" women speaking Farsi. I found I loved Iran as much as ever and I am planning another visit this Sept/Oct. Last trip we travelled with a tour agency from Shiraz. But I would like to go independently this time. Our family have all left Iran, but I would love a home-stay with an Iranian family or with guide (female) that I could meetup with. Does anyone know of any? Pauline P.

  What kind of Invitation should we send for my sister in-law to get a Visa?

Name = sharon
Years Married = 12
Number of Children = 3
Country & City = USA,
Category of Submission = Travel


My husband is an US citizen and has not been to iran since he left in 1977. He has 5 older brothers and sisters who still live in Iran. He wants to return to visit; but recently his sister stated she would like to visit us. She states she needs an "invitation" in order to apply for a visa. Is this a personal written invitation? Because we have not found any "official" invitation thru the internet nor government agencies. Any advice would be appreciated. - Sharon, USA


For your sister in law to get a Visa to US, she will need to go to a US embassy (Turkey, Dubai, Cyprus,...). At that point she has to show that she has a valid reason to visit and that she will have support (financial & social) while visiting and that she will return and honor her visa.

There is no form, you send her a typed invitation and I suggest you also send a copy of that invitation directly to the Embassy she will be visiting - include a cover letter, stating that your family is inviting your sister in law to come and visit and spend some time with you and the children.

The invitation does not guarantee she will get a visa but it would be a great help. From what I have heard, she will have the best chance to get a visa in Cyprus. If she has travelled outside of Iran - her passport showing that she has been to other countries and has returned on time honoring her visa - that would be a great help as well.

Regards and best of luck, Linda

  What is the cost of living in Iran? Is $2000/month enough?

Name = CINDY
Years Married = 6
Number of Children = 1
Country & City = UNITED STATES



Hi Cindy,
I made several phone calls to friends who have visited Iran recently and one who lived in Iran for a few months. Here is what I have.
I am also forwarding your email to ZanAmu list, in case others want to add/correct...

Yes, a family of 3 such as yours can live very well in Iran with $2000 a month.

Since each US Dollar ($) is worth 860 toman, 1.7 Million toman is quite enough .. IF

If you have a car and household furniture, you can rent a nice 3 bedroom apt in Tehran for 400K-500K toman per month with 1.0 million toman security deposit. You could probably rent a house for 700K to 1M toman/month in Tehran. Other major cities are 20-30% cheaper.

If you need a car be ready to pay a price higher than US. New or used. Car and house insurance are also high ($100-$150 a month). Household furniture such as sofa, chair, table, bed, .. are a bit cheaper than US. High quality furniture and appliances such as Fridge, dish washer, dryer, washer are more expensive.

Food, fruit, vegetables, bread, .. are very reasonable but meat (Lamb), chicken, fish are more expensive than US but perhaps same price as Europe..

Medicine, Vitamins, beauty products, ... are similar to US or a bit more for quality products.

Cab rides are reasonable, air fairs are the same as here both internal and international.

What else, oh yes, computers are a bit cheaper (mainly Korean), software is very cheap, good wine and beer very very expensive - that is if you can find it and if you are willing to risk it, since alcoholic beverages are illegal in Iran.

Hope it helps, Linda

Cost of Living and typical salaries in Iran

Just remember if you buy something make sure if you buy a home your name is on all property otherwise you are at a loss. You do not have the same rights to protect you as a woman.

I know many women in Iran who never had rights to ownership. Therefore they were not entitled to their property once their husbands passed away. Ask around

Remeber to check this thoroughly, Dianne

  Buying "Western" ingredients in Tehran or Tabriz Name = Victoria
Years Married = 8
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = australia, sydney
Category of Submission = Travel

Subject = Buying "Western" ingredients in Tehran or Tabriz

I will be visiting in August and my husband wants me to cook some special dishes for his family. I cook a lot of Italian and Indian and Chinese at home.

Does anyone know a grocery store in Tabriz (or Tehran) where I can buy things like tomato paste, Italian dried herbs, canned tomaotoes, durum wheat spaghetti etc? What about Asian fresh vegetables (eg bok choi) and sauces (Hoisin sauce. I would be very grateful for any suggestions. Thanks


  I am from Belarus and didn't know any Iranian till I moved to Dubai

Name = Nina
Years Married = 27
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = USA,
Category of Submission = Travel

Subject = Traveling to Iran

I'm so glad that I have visited this site. To my frustration, I can't seem to find one answer that is consistent about traveling to Iran.

I am a Christian married to a non-practicing Muslim Iranian. I would very, very much like to visit Iran, but the paperwork I obtained indicates that I must convert to Islam. This is out of the question, because of my religious beliefs.

I saw one listing where a couple obtained a Muslim marriage certificate (which would be okay with me), but she entered on a tourist visa (which meant she didn't have to sign a paper converting to Islam).

Then there are other listings expressing the same concern/problems about conversion, but no clear answers as to how to get around it. If anyone has suggestions/answers, please let me know. Visiting Iran is of much importance to me. Thank you for your time. Nina

Hello, About your visiting Iran, when you do get all the paper work just have some of your husbands friends sign the paper saying your muslim. No one will know. The Iranian government dont check and if they do just tell those friends of your husband to say your a muslim. So after all you will not have to convert. I know a couple who did that and had no problems. Good luck. - Andrea
Hello Nina,
I am dealing with a similar situation myself. I have been asking around and it seems there are some loop holes but no easy/legal/honest way. My choices are to lie, pretend, or both.

I have been told by couple of ladies who have travelled to Iran that all they had to do was to go to their local mosque and sit through a 5 minutes arabic ceremony and say yes couple of times and obtain an Ismlamic marriage certificate. The Imam of the Mosque didn't ask them to convert or even what was their religion but they kind of knew that the ceremony is for two Muslims. Their husbands didn't practice or believe in anything anyway. It was just a ceremony.

Another lady friend told me she couldn't go through with it because the Imam told her, she is actually acknowledging that she is a Muslim and that she is marrying a Muslim. Imam didn't care nor did he wanted to know that her husband has not prayed or fasted in 25 years and that he drinks and ... Imam only cared about performing the Shariyah or something like that. So, she was able to get a tourist visa to take her children to visit their grandparents. Her husband joined her later and they returned together. She did tell me that it took her over 6 months to obtain a tourist Visa because it had to be issues by the main passport and visa office in Tehran. The Washington office could not do it.

So, it appears to me I have two choices, either I lie or I go through months of red tape. Let me know what you find out. - Jessica

  I am from Belarus and didn't know any Iranian till I moved to Dubai

Name = Olga
Country & City = UAE, DUBAI

Hello, everybody!

I want to say that before I have never meat Iranian people,I am from belarus and came to Dubai around 1 year ago. First I worked in front office of one 4-star hotel, who all the time housed hundreds of Iranian tourists....

Now I am very deeply among Iranians, my boyfriend is from Iran, my best friend is from Iran and I am working in Iranian company now.

What can I say, I think I love this people, I visited Iran once and will go there for business soon.

Thats everything I wanted to say.

Hoshpekzare, mibinamet insha-Allah! - Olga

  I am a Japanese and I enjoyed travelling to Iran

Name = Kaoru
Years Married = 13
Number of Children = 3
Country & City = Japan, Osaka
Category of Submission = Travel

Subject = I enjoyed traveling to Iran !

Salam, everyone.
I am a Japanese. I live with my Iranian husband and three kids in Japan. I met him here in Japan. We have been married for 13 years. There are not so many Iranians in Japan so we have only a few information about them. Fortunately I understand English. I enjoy Zanamu homepage very much.

I have traveled to Iran five times. My first visit was 9 years ago. Of course we took our kids. Before I had been to Iran, I was very anxious. I knew Iran was very strict religious country. But as soon as I arrive there, I changed my mind. People welcomed me very heartfully. I stayed there for two and half months. I hated the dress code for women. But I was acustomed to wear it at last. And my brother-in-law had a traditional marriage meeting, engagement party, wedding ceremony and so on. They were very intrested for me.

I am writing my travel note of Iran in my homepage. I put many photos of there. Please take a look.

Thank you and see you. Kaoru

  Conflicting information about travelling to Iran

Name = Kerrie
Years Married = 11
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = Australia, Jindabyne
Category of Submission = Travel

Subject = conflicting information about travelling to Iran

I have been married to my beautiful Iranian husband now for close to 11 years and we have two beautiful children aged 6 and 8. We are planning to go to Iran for the first time. I have never been and my husband has not been for 19 years.

We have been getting conflicting information about travelling to Iran. Everytime I ring the Iranian embassy they are extremely polite but I never seem to get all the information I require. Both my children are Australian citizens as am I but I know that they need to be entered on my husband's passport. The embassy said that I can travel to Iran on my Australian passport but I need a visa. Okay. But I have been reading some of the letters and it seems that you need to get a Muslim marriage certificate and that I need to get an Iranian passport etc. They never told me that at the embassy. Is it different for Australians. I thank you for your assistance and would appreciate any info asap as we hope to travel in the next month.

Thank you - Kerrie

  American Wife Traveling to Iran for the First Time

Email =
Years Married = 2
Number of Children = 1
Country & City = USA,
Category of Submission = Travel

Subject = American Wife Traveling to Iran for the First Time

Hello All,

What a wonderful website! It has been so interesting for me to read all the postings from American women married to Iranian men! Who knew? I could have been learning and getting support all along from you all!

Anyway, I'm trying to find out what is involved in my going to Iran with my husband. He's been here for 25 years & neither of us had any idea what was involved in my going home with him until someone recently said we needed to be re-married in an Islamic ceremony. Does anyone have detailed info about the requirements, or a website I can log onto?

Thanks in advance, Dana

Dear Dana and ladies,

My husband and I are both Christian. He was born in a mulim family, didn't beleive in anything for a long time and gave his life to Christ 15 years ago. We met 3 years ago and got married 2 years ago. I would love to go to Iran and visit his (our) families BUT neither one of us are willing to go through a re-marriage ceremony, eventhough you all say it is just bogus and its just for show.

We are already married both in the eyes of God and according to the law. I have discovered that our marriage is recognized by all countries in the world except Iran. We can go to Saudi Arabia no problem. We can go to Israel no problem but not Iran.

My husband refused to dennounce his American citizenship in 80s inorder to go to Iran - till the government of Iran changed their mind in 90's. we are praying that the government of Iran would change their mind on this subject as well.

God bless you all, Kathy H.


For our trip in June this year, we had to have an Islamic wedding certificate. You can get this from the local mosque. We had the imam visit us and basically signed our papers for us. Although he is not a practicing Muslim, the Imam was very helpful.

As for the paperwork and requirements, you can visit the Website for the Iran government here in the US. They are part of the Pakistan embassy I believe. You have to supply not only the Islamic wedding certificate but birth certificates etc.

Once we had the right paperwork, it took about 6-8 weeks to have the passports etc.

Hope you have a great time! I had a wonderful time. Here are some photos I took from our trip there in June this year. It is not what most people think!

Cheers, Candi Bashiri

Hi Dana,

Last year I went to Iran with my husband for the first time (by the way it was definitely not the last time! it was great!).

This is what you have to do: in order to be able to travel with your husband as his wife (so in order to be recognized as his wife by Iranian authorities) you indeed need to get a muslim marriage certificate, issued by a shi'ite imam. This marriage also means you are officialy converting to Islam. But no need to worry: we invited the imam to our house one afternoon and the whole thing only took us about an hour. We looked at it more like a formality and it does not have any deeper meaning for us, since we are both non-religious. If you like, of course, you can make it as official as you like.

With this marriage certificate and a health certificate you will be able to apply for the Iranian "birth certificate" / identity pass: the shenasnameh and with this document you will be able to apply for Iranian citizenship (so you will have dual citizenship). You will get an Iranian passport, which allows you to travel as much as you like, without any visa.

Having the Iranian passport, you will be recognized as the wife of your husband and will be able to travel freely and for instance, spend the night at a hotel together.

We did not have time however to apply for the Iranian passport before we left. Therefore I had to apply for a tourist visa and we took the marriage certificate with us, in case anybody would ask for it.

Upon entering Iran, they questioned us for a while, wondering why I did not have Iranian citizenship while we were married. The guy said that I could not enter as my husband's wife, since I did not have the passport but let me in after all if I was willing to enter as a tourist and not as my husband's official wife. A beautiful example of the bureaucracy.

It would have been easier for me not to walk side by side with my husband and just present myself as a tourist travelling alone....

Inside Iran we did not have any problems. With the marriage certificate alone we could travel freely and even spend the night in a hotel together. The only time we had a problem was in Esfahan where we wanted to spend the night in the Shah Abbasi hotel but did not want to pay the foreign tourist price (which was triple the local price). In order to be accepted as an Iranian couple, we had to ask permission at what they call the Amaken. They gave us written permission to stay this exact night at this exact hotel together in the same room... A funny experience. We still keep the little form, signed and filled in manualy by one of the guys. The hotel was worth it, by the way... it was like a fairy tale.

We are planning on going again next year in winter. By then I hope to have my passport ready, which will make things easier. However I still think travelling with the marriage certificate alone is fine as well.

Should you need to arrange for a tourist visa, like I did, I advise you to have some family in Iran send an invitation for you. You can arrange the invitation through a travel agent in Iran. If you're interested I could give you their fax/telephone number. I do not remember the name of the agency but I do still have the name of the person to contact over there.

I hope this information will help you arrange your travel plans. I hope it will work out because going to Iran is something you don't want to miss out on. I hope all regulations are the same for American citizens by the way. I myself am a Dutch citizen.

Best regards & hope to hear from you if you succeeded, - E.

  Foreigners in Iran: Married for 20 years and living in Iran for 12 years

Name = J
Years Married = 20
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = Iran, Saveh

I am an European living in a pomegranate garden near Saveh (Iran). I've known my husband for a quarter of a century and we've been married 20 years; we have 2 children aged 14 (boy) and 15 (girl). We have moved to Iran 12 years ago.

I'd be interested in exchanging experiences with other foreign wives also living in Iran. I speak English, French and German, and of course Farsi.

While reading the accounts of other foreign wives and their mishaps with mother-in-laws, I must say that fortunately I have had no such problems, and my husband's extended family all consider me as one of their own, and even go out of their way to make sure I feel at home here.

Looking forward to hearing from any of you out there, good thing such a site exists! - J.

From Saveh, Iran We moved to Iran mainly for 2 reasons: one, we were a bit fed up with life in Europe, and two, my husband, who had left Iran when he was 16, had never lived in his country as an adult, so a trial stay for 2 years seemed like a necessary experience for our family as a whole. The time was ideal, since our children were small (2 and 3 years old) and not still going to school. For two years previous to our moving, I traveled to Iran alone, at first only with my 9month old daughter. I must say that I knew my parents in-law for 10 years already, since they had come frequently to visit us. I had also traveled twice to Iran just before the revolution, and already met a good part of my husband's family (introduced as his fiancie, but we were just girl/boy friends). So I knew where I was going and what to expect, more or less. My husband's family is very open-minded and this makes a world of difference!!! Our trial stay of 2 years was conclusive and we stayed on. There certainly are 'horror stories', especially for the young in Iran, who cannot date freely in public places; Iran seems to be made for couples and families, the only acceptable status in this society. But I must say that a foreigner has a special place here, welcome with open arms and overwhelming curiosity as to his/her opinion on Iran and the place he/she comes from. People go out of their way for you, and even if you slip a touch with the thousand civilities, you are always excused. I am considered much more here than in Europe, and even professionally, the scarf wearing seemed to prevent certain sexist attitudes prevailing elsewhere. Maybe I had to give up the presence of my family, ready-meals, hundreds of cheese varieties, going to swim in lakes and walking in forests, but then here we've had a huge country to explore, wandering in desert cities with the most amazing architecture, meeting friendly people and later, building our own house, building up a business, meeting other couples like our own, friends and family coming over to see us and many other neat social experiences.

Life is always a compromise, and since we go back to Europe every summer for 2 months, we get a tank-full for the year to come. We also often get visitors coming from abroad, and while taking them around, we enjoy the moment when bewildered by their stay, they admit that this country had nothing to do with what the heavy anti-Iran propaganda through the media had prepared them for. But mainly, the place we live in ? an oasis away from the chaos, (with a huge swimming pool!) has made us stay on. Now we will soon be faced by the dilemma of sending our kids abroad once they have gotten their diplomas. They will certainly have more possibilities there? and they themselves are eager to go ? like I said, Iran is not the most appealing of places for the young? If you like to know more about Iran (as seen through a foreigner's eyes), I strongly recommend reading "Neither East nor West" by Christiane Bird (Washington Square Press); it is one of the best travel accounts to Iran I have read so far! Good information is the best of remedies against hear-say? J.

  My First Trip to Iran

Name = emma
Years Married = 7
Number of Children = 4
Country & City = England


I went to Iran this summer for the first time with my husband and our children and we all had a great time. We stopped in tehran with my husbands parents and also visited the village of (omamay) spelling ??? twice and i have to say i prefer the city to the village. we also visited Mashad for a few days.which was windy and i had to keep hold of my chardor to stop it blowing away!!!

I found Iran a very interesting place to visit and i loved the bazzars. I also found it funny when we went out shopping etc.... people were trying to guess where i came from and most people thought i was an Arab?? i think my blue eyes should have given away i was western . the children loved it getting so much attention all the time .all ways some where to go and some thing to do. travelling in cars was errrr interesting at one point there were 13 members of my husbands family in one car including two of my children. which they thought was funny as they were on the top layer.

before I went to Iran i had heard a lot of good and bad things , but i loved it all. i think it all depends what type of family your husbands/wives is like . in that i am very lucky, they are not the interfering type of family you hear about. we were all very upset to leave Iran except one of my daughters who was laughing at us all crying at the airport!!!!!!! and I cant wait to go back.

  Enjoyed visiting Iran but found it hard to live there

I am American and I met my amazing, hard-working, gorgeous, intelligent Iranian husband, Ghasem, while in Japan. We had only known each other for 4 months, but as we were both 29, and knew what we were looking for. We had a heck of a time wading through the bureaucracy and spent a lot of money getting married there, at the Iranian and American embassies in Tokyo...we visited my parents here in Michigan (the first male friend of mine that my father ever liked!) and then we visited his family in Tehran... we were planning on living there, but after four months, we decided to leave Iran and live here. We had a great time there and traveled all over the country, (Turkoman, many other cities in the north, Shiraz, Yazd, Rasht, Esfahan, Hamedan,Mashad) but it was difficult for both of us- he was suffering from reverse culture shock and I thought that we would have more opportunities here in the States... We have since been back to Iran (Tehran, Shahroud, Shiraz, Esfahan, Tabriz) for two months, in 1999. I should add that we had an excellent time in Iran- the hospitality, archaeological sites, art, food and warmth of the people was phenomenal!!! We love Iran, but it was hard for us to live there....

If you have any questions or comments about immigration, travel, or relationship issues, please email me.

  You've got to visit Iran - I Love it!

Saalam dostan!

I just wanted to say that Iran is a very beautiful country and I really enjoyed my trip after 12 years in Sweden. In Sweden i didn't have any Persian friends so i had forgotten a lot about Iran. But during my stay (3 monthes) there was not a day I had a bad day. I saw many forgein tourists and please go and visit Iran, you will love it. -- Ramak

  Research, Clubs for Foreigners in Tehran

Hello All! I am currently doing research on the expatriate community in Tehran and have greatly enjoyed reading about your experiences visiting Iran.

At least one of you have mentioned that groups of foreign women have created clubs or groups in which they discuss their experiences. Since they seem to be so helpful to you, I was hoping that you might be able to tell me more about them, ie their names and contact info, if possible.

I'm putting together a profile of sorts for people planning to move to Iran, and would greatly appreciate any kind of insight you could offer. Since this is not directly related to this list, please contact me by email ( Note, I'm under a deadline, but once the profile's written, I can always add info, so contact me soon, but better late than never.

Thank you so much for your help! Janene Mecca

  Visiting Iran helped me understand my husband better

I have only been married a year. Right before we were married I traveled to Iran to meet my in-laws and to see where my husband grew up. I loved it there, I would go back and live there if my husband would come(o; People were so friendly and hospitable. The food was incredible. I didn't mind the dress codes, in fact, when I came home I felt almost uncomfortable going outside without the whole get-up! My experiences there have helped me to understand my husband much better, and I would encourage anyone who is considering going to Iran to go. You'll love it! - Amy (Salt Lake City)

  Salaam everyone!

I have posted only once in the past and everyone has been very helpful and I need to ask for some advice. My husband is Iranian, we have been married for seven years and we have two children together and I have another, my eldest son from a previous relationship. We all would like to go visit Iran together but have gotten the run around from the embassy in Washington. We are already married with a Muslim marriage certificate and I would like to know how I need to go about getting an Iranian passport for my eldest son. Or is that even possible? I am an American and my son a citizen also of U.S. so I am not sure what to do to get his paperwork so that we can all go together. Any help and advice is very much appreciated. Thank you all for your time and listening to my dilemma.
- Regards,



I have just returned from a three month visit in Tehran and had such a wonderful time that I cried when we left. We created a "home a-way from home" for ourselves there so we can return any time we wish to. Would you like to see what a typical home looks like in Iran?

See our flat in Teharan on our family web site:"

and tell us what you think. I have been to Iran 6 times with my husband and have loved it each and every time. This last visit I took some farsi lessons and even ventured out shopping by myself, taught english in a public kindergarten and took taxies all over Tehran with my daughters. I would live there if my husband could tolerate the political climate. I am of a Catholic family and my husband of Muslim but it has never been a problem for us.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Would you like to email an Iranian woman in Iran to ask more questions? I have a friend who is an English major in Tehran who would love to hear from you.

Go visit if you can and eat your way through the most delicious country I have ever been too. - Lori Pournaderi

Dear Lori Pournaderi.

Thank you so much for the photos you sent me. It was a great idea to send me those pictures as now I have a rough idea about how Persian houses look like. Well, me and my husband will be making a trip to Iran in August. This is my first time to Iran and I am all excited about it. It will a totally new environment for me.

Once again, thank you so so so much.
Kheily Merci

  Dear ZanAmu,
Yes, I have traveled to Iran. Two times. Now, my husband would like to have our family go there and try living there for a year. I find it kind of frightening and kind of exciting. I have be married 17 years. We have two children, a son 16 and a daughter 6. I have some concerns with my son and the military, also, with some of the laws pertaing to my traveling out of the country with my children. Would the government give my any problems should I want to leave and my husband want to stay? I also heard that the childern are considered the property of the husband and that in the event of the husband's death the property of the childern go to the husband's family and not to the wife. What are the laws? What proceedures would I have to take to ensure these matters? I would appreciate a timely response as this trip is just around the corner. Your website is heaven sent. I wish I would have known about it sooner.

My first visit to Iran was 5 years ago. I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it very much. I love the letters on this site because I identified very much. My second visit wasn't as wonderful probably because the newness was gone. It can be a difficult, exotic, interesting. The people are mostly warm and friendly. The letter of the woman who had been married for twenty years and wonders if hers marriage will survive has explained Iran so wonderfully from an american women's prespective. I'll be visiting your website often, please update it soon . Thanks to you

Though there are still days when I wonder if our marriage of "now twenty years" will survive, my life has never been dull. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time in Iran. It allowed me to see my husband functioning in his natural environment and with a level of comfort he will never have in the states.

My first visit was in 1978. Though the Shah was in power at that time, the visit was my most difficult. While I had traveled to Europe and spent a summer studying at the University of Heidelberg, I had never been to the Middle East. My husband did not prepare me for the visit. He told me it was just like America, those were his exact words "just like America". Looking back, I suspect he meant that yes, Iran has refrigerators, television, and cars. We had only been married a month and known each other only a few months more, when we traveled to Iran. We spent the summer in Tehran. I cried every day. My relatives must have found me most peculiar and wondered what their poor son had gotten himself into. I found myself wondering the same. I felt like Alice gone down the rabbit hole. Things smelled different, tasted different, looked different. Tehran smelled of diesel fuel and heat, not an altogether unpleasant sensation. Sweets flavored with rosewater tasted of perfume. I love the taste of rosewater now but at the first time I stuffed a handful of candies into my mouth I would have spit it out if we hadn't been visiting. What was most disconcerting was my realization that my husband came from a very different culture, that he grew up with experiences and relationships so different from mine. We did not share a common past. Both of our lives changed radically when we married.

My husbands family was not "westernized." The family was religious but not fanatical. They excepted our marriage. Maman wore chador but my husbands sisters didn't. We ate our meals on the sofray and saved the enormous dining room table for company. While I may have been more comfortable had my Persian family been more westernized, I am grateful they weren't. I believe I experienced a more genuine or at least a more representative Iran.

My second stay in Iran was after the birth of our first child. It was right after the revolution. The hostage crisis happened while I was there. It's rather ironic that my friends and relatives were much more effected by the crisis than I was. It had little impact on my day to day existence. There was one little experience. I used to put my daughter in my back pack carrier and walk to the American library. One afternoon when I attempted to open the door, a young man in uniform holding a rifle or maybe a machine gun stepped out. I thought it better to come back later. ( Which I finally did in 1992) The library is now a library for students attending Tehran University and studying to become teachers.

Our last stay was from 1992 until 1994. By this time we had three children and had been married a good number of years. I was comfortable and familiar with the culture. I went with no expectations. Those two years were a wonderful experience for me. I had a great time. I even had a job. What made a difference in particular was finding "Foreign Wives". Informal get togethers were held once and month. I found a group of friends who became my support group. I made a wonderful friendship with a young woman from Britain, the kind of friend one makes for a lifetime. She just moved back to England in November.

I have written nothing of my experiences. They could fill a book. I just wanted to relate how each stay in Iran was a unique experience, as both Iran and I changed over the years. It was wonderful and terrible. It stretched me mentally and emotionally as I struggled to understand ideas and customs different from mind. I am grateful for that opportunity.

Dear ZanAmu,

I have been married to an Iranian man for 9 years and we have a daughter who is 5 years old. I have been to Iran twice. The first time was when my daughter was only 2 months old. We went for several reasons, one being that all of his family wanted to see the baby and my husband had to take care of some business. We lived there for 7 months, mostly in Shiraz. We did travel to Tehran, Mashad, Isfahan, Estahbanat, Kish Island and Yasuj. At first it was a bit overwhelming. I was not used to everyone doing everything for me. At one time I was in tears for I felt as if they thought of me as a dumb foreigner who did not know how to do a thing. But after my husband explained that the women are only trying to be helpful and they do these things wherever they go. I felt better. as far as the clothing issue, it was no problem. Since all of the women wear a hijab and a montoe/chador I did not stick out. Of course there was no hiding my face and my fair complexion and blue eyes gave me away. Some thought I was from Europe, but I told them that I was from America. In the bazaars everyone would stare for I am much taller that the average Iranian woman (I am 5' 8"), they would say ,"Look there is a foreigner". Towards the end I would usually smile and say Salaam. My husband told me that the reason they are looking is because they don't see many foreigners now a days. Well 5 years later my husband got the itch to visit his family, so we packed our bags and were off again. This time for 5 weeks ( this past summer). Again I had a wonderful time. And yes I would go back again and again and again.



I will be traveling to Iran in the fall to marry an Iranian man. He can send me things, but I wanted to know if there is a web site where you can order Persian clothing, etc.

Thanks for your time.
Sincerely, Vicki

Salam and congratulations.

Unfortunately I am not aware of any WebSite selling Persian Clothing. By the way, as far as I know, the only difference in clothing is "Chador" or " scarf used to cover the hair and a loose light overcoat or a very long shirt. Other than these, everything else is the same as western clothing.

I'll look around and if I find anything I'll let you know.
Khoda Hafez, ZanAmu

I have a question concerning traveling to Iran. My husband, son and I will be going to Iran this summer. My husband is Iranian and will be traveling to Iran with his Iranian passport. (He does not have an American passport, yet.) My son and I have both American passports and we also have our names in my husband's passport (thus we have Iranian passports, too). We are flying Chicago-to-Istanbul-to-Tehran on Turkish Air. My son and I will be using our American passports to leave America, however, I have been told it is best to use our Iranian passports to enter Iran. From Chicago to Turkey, I will be flying as an American. Is it then possible to switch passports/nationalities even though I will be flying with the same airline with the same ticket on to Tehran!? I would like to hear from others who have advise on this topic. Please send me your response.
Dear Zanamu:

I am an American married to an Iranian man who is a Naturalized US Citizen. My husband has not been to Iran since 1977 and I have never visited Iran.

We are planing to visit Iran this spring/summer and are experiencing difficulties obtaining visas with our US passports. We contacted the Iranian consulate. I was told I must travel on my husband's Iranian passport, become an Iranian citizen and have an Islamic marriage certificate. My religious beliefs preclude my participation in a religious Islamic marriage ceremony.

Have any other ladies experienced these difficulties? Were any of you able to travel using a US passport? Please share some of your experiences with me so I will have enough knowledge to make the right decision and travel to Iran safely without compromising my Christian beliefs.

Time is of the essence, so please contact me as soon as possible.


Dear J.M., I know of several families who have visited Iran. I am not aware of the specifics of their visa but I did not hear anything like this. Are you sure you got this information from a Iran Consulate? I suggest you contact the Embassy near you for current information. You can find list of Embassies at Government Offices.

- ZanAmu

I found the dress code not to be a big deal, since no one forced me to wear the chador, and the selection of manto styles and scarves was so wide. Since I was there in the summer, it may have been somewhat uncomfortable in the day time.. but then again, it was not Florida in the evening. Besides, I took it off indoors when at home or visiting. I had no problem with wearing make up. One plus - I did not have to worry about how my hair looked when I go outside.

I think it did not bother me too much, because I've never been there before the revolution, and did not experience Iran when it was different. It is sometimes hard for the native Iranians to go back to that environment.

- Azadel

Hello. I enjoyed your internet site. I would also like to share my experience travelling to Iran. I went to Iran for the first time when I was 13 years old. My parents had warned me about some of the cultural stuff and how to be polite to older people and how to dress. I was not very excited at the beginning but after I got there and visited my relatives and the beautiful city of Isfahan, I was in heaven. I didn't mind the dress code because it was kind of fun. I even asked for chador, since it was like playing peek-a-boo. I could hide under chador and cover my face. Nobody knew who I was. I liked it.

My parents were nervous when we arrived at the airport in Tehran but after a few hours and visiting relatives, they were as relaxed as usual. We were stopped once on the road one night but it was just a routine check.

I liked the people. They are mostly so nice. Some older people very mad and gunchy but everybody was helpful. I heard girls do not date until they get married. I said, dad, lets go home. Just kidding... If you get a chance to visit Iran, go for it. You'll love it.

M. K.

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