Iran Etiquettes Manual


 IRAN Traveling Etiquettes


When you visit a foreign land

 First ask what’s forbidden.

Confucius (551- 479 BC)




The Islamic Republic of Iran (short: Iran) is a country, which was known until 1934 under the name "Persia". In the multi-cultural country live many tribes and followers of various religions and sects: Lurs, Kurds, Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians u.v.a. But they are and will remain Persians.
Often the Persians are lumped together with the Arabs. But there are major differences in history, mentality, culture and self-image. Although the overall cultural picture is influenced by the Arabic-Islamic culture, the Persian always wants to keep in mind that even in everyday life the honor of the Iranians and the pride in their own history are of particular importance. In Iran, the national feeling, the pride of a 2500-year-old civilization has even taken the place of religious enthusiasm, according to the article FAZ from 10. 4. 2005; As many as 80 percent of adolescents said, they are proud to be Iranians. If you talk to Iranians for a little longer, you will always be told the glorious past and the greatness of ancient Persian culture that existed long before Islam.




Behavioral patterns:
There are some behaviors that should be respected in Iran so as not to make mistakes, but often you can rely on your intuition. The ability to read between the lines and behave adequately in situation will be very useful to you. Pay particular attention to gestures, facial expressions, speech style and atmosphere. Your instinct will also be required in Iran, because clear answers such as "yes" and especially "no" are rare. So listen carefully to what the Iranians say and as a precaution, check once or twice.

Due to the traditionally friendly German-Iranian relations, German tourists in Iran are received with great respect.
Among men, a short handshake, accompanied by a "Salam" (hello) is the usual greeting. Often the greeting can follow the question "Haletun chetore?" - "How are you?".
Since, according to the rules of Islam, it is forbidden for men to touch foreign women (women from outside of their family), it can happen that the Iranians hold back when German women shake hands with them, and this must not be resented. In any case, it is not against shaking hands to reach out to the Iranians. But if one of the proud and self-confident Iranian women shake hands with you, you can accept them and also press briefly. However, prolonged body contact is absolutely taboo in public. Be open and attentive in your dealings, and you will quickly discover what is common in one situation or another.


The culture standard "Ta'arof" is one of the weirdest communication patterns in Iran. Ta'arof is a phenomenon whose true meaning is mostly hidden from foreign visitors because they do not know the social context.
"Ta'arof" is an Iranian conversation style in which one makes polite but not serious offers. But it also belongs to this pattern of behavior, that you behave submissively in conversation or behavior. In general, Ta’arof is a typically Persian courtesy, a social etiquette. It’s normal that Tarof is used in situations where one does not want to be rude and offend the other. Some examples can give this topic information:



Example 1:

You bought a traditional plate at 100 euros in a souvenir shop, then the seller at the cash register surprisingly does not want to accept any money, saying with a serious expression: "That should be a present from me, you do not need to pay.” This can only be understood as a courtesy gesture. You also have to express your thanks, but you have to pay the price.

Example 2:

You forgot your sunglasses at the hotel and ask the driver to get you the glasses while admiring the exhibits in the museum. After the driver has done this favor, you want to show your gratitude by offering him some money. He rejects it with the words: "I only fulfilled my duty."

Example 3:

As you sip your tea in peace in a garden in front of the royal palace in Isfahan, a young lady approaches you and greets you with a friendly face, telling you that she was very pleased to be visiting her city. They come into conversation and you make a friendly compliment that the gold ring stands her very well. She immediately takes off the ring and offers it to you with the words: "I would like to give this to you." You must not accept him under any circumstances. You just have to be friendly and say thankfully, "That the ring is better to her than you."

Misunderstanding on Tao’rof:

 As expected, Ta'arof leads to many misunderstandings in everyday life. Often it is difficult even for Iranians to recognize when a particular behavior is truly clear or if it is just Ta'arof. In case of doubt, you are asked to be honest. Do you mean something serious, just answer: Ta'arof nemikonam (I do not Tao’arof). Even in this case, you can never be sure, but with this statement they underline their true motivations. If someone is unfamiliar with this etiquette - and this applies to most foreigners - it is advisable to reject unwanted invitations on several occasions politely, but firmly. This behavior is readily accepted, even if Iranians often make one last attempt. After all, you can never be sure.




"The guest is loved by God.” is said in Persia. This means that the guest is treated as a gift from God. Iranians are known for their exemplary hospitality. If you travel in Iran today, it is not uncommon for locals to spontaneously address and invite you. These invitations are meant to be honest in most cases, but you should think about Ta'aruf. The guest is always treated courteously, and the Iranian host is constantly trying hard to tell him almost every wish. The guest is thus honored and respected, and integrated into the social network of the host.


Hospitality as a cultural standard includes liberality and generosity. In Iranian society, these virtues are highly valued. However, they include the right to reciprocity. This means that the overly selfless expenses should be compensated in a next opportunity to always stay within the frame of decency. In an economic sense it is said that one can not rely endlessly on the generosity that is otherwise constant without reciprocating.


Dress Code:

In Iran, women must observe the Iranian-Islamic dress code. The chador, the predominantly black full-body cloak, today determines the image of the woman in smaller cities. In larger cities, on the other hand, a long-sleeved coat is mostly worn that reaches below the knees. The headgear is usually a headscarf or scarf in different colors according to your own choice. The typical women's clothing in the public also includes a dark-colored long pants that reaches to the ankles.
As a rule it is said for women: hair, arms, neckline and legs should not be shown too freely.
For the men, things are not that strict. They can dress themselves according to European discipline, but shorts are frowned upon, especially in holy places, such as mausoleums and mosques, shorts should be avoided. In business relationships and encounters, it is advisable to wear a suit because it shows respect.





Proper clothing in mosques and religious places:

In Islamic worship, women still have to dress long, the arms and legs must be covered, as well as the head, sometimes women have to put on a chador before entering certain mausoleums, which is usually provided by the mosque administration. Gentlemen also have to dress respectfully and should not appear in beach outfit. At the entrance, the shoes are removed. Most mosques are covered with rugs. Since Muslims pray directly on the ground, one pays attention to the purity and cleanliness.



German, Austrian and Swiss nationals require a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the return date to enter Iran, and a visa to be obtained on arrival at the airport or at the Iranian consulate in their home country. To apply for a visa at the Iranian embassy or consulate visa, you need a visa reference number, which is sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Please check the validity of your passport. This must be valid for at least six months on the day of application and contain two free pages.


1.     Visa reference number:

Once you book a service with us, you will be considered a PITO customer and as an accredited tour operator we will take care of procuring a reference number as a free service to our valued customers, which is to be applied for at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic.


2.     Grand Notice:


If the application for the visa is granted, we will forward you a VISA Grand Notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
You can then with all the necessary documents including VISA Grand Notice visit the relevant Iran representatives (embassy or consulate) and get your entry visa.


Note: VISA Grand Notice or Reference Number means that your application for an entry visa is granted, but is not considered a VISA itself.

3.     Processing period:

The processing time is usually 10-15 working days. However, since the visa has a validity period of 3 months from the collection date, you should not apply for a visa more than 3 months before your arrival. 2 months prior to entry would be the ideal time, as the journey will be finalized no later than 35 days prior to entry.

4.     Visa on Arrival:

Currently, citizens of more than 70 countries have the opportunity to catch up on arrival at Iranian international airports (Tehran, Tabriz, Meshed, Isfahan, etc.). Usually, there is no change to the visa issuance process, except that you will need an extra VISA on Arrival reference number, which you will also receive from us after the procedure mentioned above. It would be worth mentioning that one has to take a relatively longer wait (20-45 minutes) to get a visa on arrival at the visa office of the airports.


5.     Required documents for Visa:

- Filled Visa form

- Passport

- Certificate of traveling insurance

- Receipt of Visa fee

 (For further information visit embassy of Germany in Iran website)


Vaccination certificates are NOT required by travelers unless they have had a stay in the infection areas identified by WHO within 6 days of entering the IRAN.


Fly to Iran

There are several options available for flying to Iran. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Emirates, Turkish Airline, Iran Air etc. fly several times a week to the capital city of Iran,Tehran. With Turkish Airline you can also fly to other big cities like Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Kermanshah etc.

Telephone Area Codes

The country code for Iran is +98. Germany can be reached with the prefix +49, Switzerland +41 and Austria +43.

The area codes of some cities are:
Tehran: 021, Isfahan: 0311, Shiraz: 0711, Yazd: 0351

Customers in Iran can easily use Whatsapp where they have Internet access. However, in order to make proper phone calls, it is advisable to get an Iranian prepaid SIM card in order to avoid having to pay roaming costs, but German SIM cards from O2 and Vodaphone also work perfectly well in the event of an emergency. (An Iranian prepaid SIM card will allow travelers to buy directly from the airport at competitive rates).



In every hotel there’s a free Wi-Fi connection for guests.


Photography and Filimng

Sights or other such travel impressions can be photographed, but you should pay attention to the photo prohibition signs. In most museums, photography without a flash or tripod is possible, but in a few cases (such as the Jewel Museum) it is strictly prohibited.
Photography of public facilities, military sites, airports and ports, security and government vehicles, police officers and security forces is prohibited, and can be considered a criminal offense of espionage and assigned correspondingly long prison sentences. The photography ban also applies to embassy buildings.
When photographing people, restraint is required. However, most people are happy to be photographed.



The currency is the Iranian Rial. 10 Rials equal a "Toman". One should ask for price information so if Rial or Toman is meant. Travelers in Iran must always have enough cash with them.
No foreign credit or debit cards or traveler's checks are accepted on site.
Currency exchange is possible both when entering the airport and in large banks, which are usually marked with an "Exchange" sign. Larger cities also have licensed bureaux de change. In the international hotels you can also exchange. However, the price is often a few cents worse than in state-owned banks.


Time shift

The time difference to the Central European time is + 2.5 hours, both in summer and in winter.



For Iran, you do not need a travel adapter. It is 220 V power and plug type C ("Euro plug") are used. This socket shape is also used in Germany.
The outlet looks like this:

Travel times

 Thanks to its different climate zones, Iran can be toured throughout the year. So that you can get an idea of which region is best to travel when, here are some tips:

Central Highlands (Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd, Shiraz and Kerman):
March to early June and mid-September to early November. When traveling in the period from March 20 to April 4, it should be noted that because of the New Year holiday many locals also travel and the hotels can be overbooked. In the winter time you have to expect rainfall.

Coastal areas on the Persian Gulf:
November to March

West and Northeast (Kermanshah and Mashhad):
April to June and September to the beginning of November

Northwest, Caspian Region (Takht-e Soleiman, Orumiyeh, Tabriz Ardebil):
May - June and September - October

High valleys of the Zagros Mountains:
End of June to end of September

Deserts (Dasht-e Kavir and Lut):
April, May and end of September to beginning of November.

Pars Ivan Tour Operator
Contact Info
2nd floor, NO 40, Shahid Beheshti Ave
Tehran, Iran
Tel: +98 21 88 46 09 78
+98 21 88 46 07 55

10265 Yonge Street, Unit 103, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4C 4Y7 , Canada
Tel: +1 416 8004128

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