It’s understandable to think that Iran is not a safe place to visit, but it’s actually overall pretty safe. Tehran and other major cities in Iran are not as safe as Tokyo but they actually beat many western cities in terms of safety. Even though Iran has wealth inequality in the same way Brazil and other South american countries have, they have managed to keep the crime rate low. It’s definitely among the safer less developed countries to visit. Iranians are generally friendly and hospitable towards tourists.
How are americans perceived?
You might think there is animosity towards american tourists because of the rift between the two countries’ governments but most people are friendly toward americans. Iranians are good at differentiating between government and its people. You will probably be popular among young people who want to practice their english with you. Expect random people to try to converse with you because most iranians rarely get the chance to meet a foreigner to speak english with.
Before delving further, it’s always best to rely on statistics. Even though statistics aren’t always reliable, they are far more reliable than personal experiences and anecdotes.
Iran is considerable more safe than United States based on murder rate and violent crimes. The intentional homocide rate in Iran is only 2.47 per 100,000 people(homocide rate in the US stands at 5.35). However, intentional homocide rates is rarely ever going to affect tourists. It’s more relevant to look at robbery and harassment. It’s more difficult to find reliable data for this than murder rate but even then Iran does seem to show a lower rate of crime levels in general than United States.
Genereally speaking all the tourist destinations in Iran are heavily policed, the risk of you being victim of a crime is next to nothing.
Safe for female travellers?
Harassing women on the street can lead to severe punishment by the police. There is a strong police presence in Iran no matter where you are in urban areas. However, be careful in more rural parts of Iran. The few times I’ve heard about tourists being in trouble is when they have gotten way off the beaten path. It might be fun and adventourus to do this in other countries but I wouldn’t suggest you venture off to no man’s land in Iran.
It is important to abide by Iranian laws and customs but it’s perfectly safe to be a solo female tourist in Iran. Whether you are female or not it’s important to stay away from more shabby areas. Iran does have major income inequalities and it really shows when tour around the major cities which brings me to my next point.
Is Tehran safe?
Tehran is by far the biggest city in Iran and with major cities comes crime. In general, the northern part is the more wealthy part and therefore more safe. South Tehran is the home to the working poor and it’s not as safe but it’s definitely not dangerous. You can walk around in South Tehran for the most part without any troubles but obviously don’t go out of your way to visit the ghetto areas. Tehran can be really rough in some parts but all tourist attractions are far away from those neighborhoods.
What actually might happen
To be honest, the only thing you really need to worry about in Iran is getting ripped off when taking the cab or some store owner trying to sell some overpriced junk. To avoid being over charged by cab driver, try to always negotiate the price before.