Washington, DC – On October 8, the United States Department of State renewed its travel warning for Iran, cautioning United States citizens on dangers of visiting the country. The warning replaces a previous travel warning issued by the State Department on March 23, 2010. Travel warnings are issued periodically by the State Department. For Iran, a warning has been in place since 1979, although travel between the U.S. and Iran is still relatively common.
Despite some minor changes, the new warning offers few substantial adjustments to the State Department guidelines for traveling to Iran. It cautions dual-national Iranian-American travelers about the problems they may face in the country, but expands some of these warnings to cover all U.S. citizens.
For instance, the warning states that the Iranian government does not recognize dual national status, and therefore denies the U.S. Interest Section at the Swiss Embassy access to imprisoned Iranian Americans. But it also includes an update that access is often denied for imprisoned U.S. citizens who are not dual nationals as well. It also states that U.S. citizens have been detained or imprisoned on charges of espionage or posing a threat to national security—previous travel warnings only stated that Iranian Americans faced detentions for such charges. These detentions are labeled “unjust” in the new warning; previous warnings did not include such qualifiers.
The new warning also no longer cautions travelers about “large-scale demonstrations” as a result of “a volatile political climate following the June 2009 elections.”
The warning mentions that the lack of formal diplomatic ties between the US and Iran hinders the ability of the American government to protect the interests of US citizens. It also states that border areas with Iraq and Pakistan should be avoided because of increased risk of violence due to Iranian government repression of religious and ethnic minorities. As always, travelers are advised to stay current on Iranian news and familiarize themselves with Iranian laws before departing.
Read the updated Iran travel warning here