Capital : Tehran

Time : GMT +3.5

Dialing Code : +98

Population : 80 million (2016)

Religion : 85% Shia Islam, 10% Sunni Islam, 5% Zoroastrians, Christians and Jews

Language : Farsi (an Indo-Aryan language) as well as various Turkic, Kurdish, and Arabic dialects.

Electricity : 220 volts, 50Hz – plugs are the round two-pin type, exactly like in France.

Currency :
Iranian Rial IRR (10 Rials = 1 Toman) Although, the “Toman” is no longer an official unit of Iranian currency, you will hear it frequently, as Iranians usually express amounts of money and prices of goods in Toman.

Photography :
Generally, people will be happy to have their photo taken, provided you ask for their permission first. Some mosques allow photography, however, shrines do not. Avoid photographing any government buildings or institutions.

Mobile Phones :
Most UK and European network providers do offer roaming capabilities inside Iran, best to check with your provider. Otherwise, a local pay as you go SIM card can be bought on arrival.

Tipping :
Tips are always greatly appreciated. On group tours, it has become common to tip local guides and drivers, as a rough guide about $5 a day per person for a local guide and $2 a day per person for a driver. However, this is completely at your discretion, and as with anywhere else in the world – only if you’re completely happy with the service provided.

Shopping :
Iran has many modern, Western style shopping malls but it’s in the bazaars where the real treasures are to be found. Some great souvenirs or gift ideas are; dried fruits and nuts of every imaginable variety, the best saffron, caviar, traditional sweets such as ‘gaz’ and ‘sohan’. You can also find beautiful artisan gold and silver jewellery with stunning gemstones, such as rubies, emeralds, turquoise and many more. And of course, no trip to Iran would be complete without taking back with you a wonderful, magical Persian carpet.

Cultural Etiquette or “Tarof” : is a specific form of etiquette or politeness meant to show deference and respect.
A good example of Tarof is that when you visit someone’s house, they must offer you something to eat or drink. Even if you are extremely thirsty or hungry, you must refuse the offer, as it would be considered rude to immediately accept. They in turn, must keep offering, until you finally accept and they bring you food or drink.
“No thank you” simply means “please make the offer again” - as a general rule, offer three times/refuse three times and then it’s fine to accept.
Most people would be hard-pressed to find a jeweler who says “Ghabeleh shoma ra nadareh” — “It’s not worthy of you” — when asked the price of a gold bracelet, but Iranians do this frequently. No, he isn’t really giving it to you for free, everyone just knows to ask for the price again. Or that taxi ride? “It’s on me!” a driver might say. (Hint: Don’t walk away without paying. He doesn’t mean it, it’s simply “Tarof”.)

Basic Communication : If you would like to learn some Farsi before your travels we highly recommend that you check out

hello salām سلام
good bye khoda hafez خدا حافظ
yes balé بله
no na نه
I/me man من
you (informal) تو
you (formal) shomā شما
how are you? (informal) chetor-ee? چطوری؟
how are you? (formal) chetor-eed? چطورید؟
I'm well khoobam خوبم
thank you merci مرسى
please lotfan لطفاً
excuse me bébakhsheed ببخشيد
my name is ….. esmé man ….. hast اسم من ..... است
what is your name? esmé shomā chee-yé? اسم شما چی است؟
I am from ….. man az ….. hastam من از ..... هستم
I don’t understand man né mee fahmam من نميفهمم
do you speak English? engleesee sohbat meekoneed? انگليسی صحبت ميكنيد؟

Unlike the alphabet, numbers in Farsi are read from left to right.

۰ sefr صف 0
۱ yek یک 1
۲ دو 2
۳ seh سه 3
۴ chahār چهار 4
۵ panj پنج 5
۶ sheesh شيش 6
۷ haft هفت 7
۸ hasht هشت 8
۹ noh نه 9
۱۰ dah ده 10