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Warning: The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against travel to Iran, which remains dangerous because of the generally anti-American atmosphere and Iranian government hostility to the U.S. government. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran have been detained without charge, arrested, and harassed by Iranian authorities. Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and possible execution. In addition, the Iranian government reportedly has the names of all individuals who filed claims against Iran at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague pursuant to the 1981 Algiers Accords. There are restrictions on both import and export of goods from Iran to the United States. The U.S. government does not currently have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as the Protecting Power for U.S. Interests in Iran, but the Iranian Government is reluctant to permit the Swiss to provide protective services for American citizens whom they consider to be Iranian nationals by birth or naturalizations. Neither U.S. passports nor visas to the U.S. are issued in Tehran. For additional information see paragraphs on "Dual Citizenship" and "Embassy Location."

Country Description: Iran is a constitutional Islamic Republic, governed by executive and legislative branches that derive national leadership primarily through the Muslim clergy. Shia Islam is the official religion of Iran, and Islamic law is the basis of the authority of the state. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Iran is a developing country. The workweek in Iran is Saturday through Thursday; however, many of the government offices and private companies are closed on Thursdays. Friday is a public holiday for all establishments. Offices in Iran are open to the public generally during morning hours only.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan is located at 2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 965-4990. U.S. passports are valid for travel to Iran. However, U.S./Iranian dual nationals have often had their U.S. passports confiscated upon arrival and have been denied permission to depart Iran documented as U.S. citizens. To prevent the confiscation of U.S. passports, the Department of State suggests that dual nationals leave their U.S. passports at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas for safekeeping before entering Iran. To facilitate their travel in the event of the confiscation of a U.S. passport, dual nationals may, prior to entering Iran, obtain in their Iranian passports the necessary visas for countries which they will transit on their return to the U.S., and where they may apply for a new U.S. passport. In case of having failed to obtain in advance the necessary visas for their return trip to the U.S., dual nationals can obtain a "Confirmation of Nationality" from the Embassy of Switzerland, U.S. Interests Section, addressed to the relevant embassies in Tehran, only after their U.S. nationality is confirmed to the said office - a procedure that would take some time which may delay their plans and deadlines for their return trip. The "Confirmation of Nationality" issued by the U.S. Interests Section in Tehran is meant to enable the dual nationals to apply for third country visas in Tehran. Dual nationals must enter and leave the United States on U.S. passports.

Trade and Investment Restrictions: On May 6, 1995, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12959, 60 Federal Register 24757 (May 9, 1995), which prohibits exporting goods or services to Iran, reexporting certain goods to Iran, new investments in Iran or in property owned or controlled by the government of Iran and brokering or other transactions involving goods or services of Iranian origin or owned or controlled by the government of Iran. These restrictions have been added to those already contained in the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 560, which prohibited unauthorized importation of Iranian-origin goods or services into the United States, effective October 19, 1987. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of Treasury, provides guidance to the public on the interpretation of the order. For information regarding the issuance of licenses, contact the Licensing Division Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of the Treasury at 202-622-2500. For information regarding banking and compliance, contact Compliance Programs Division at 202-622-2490.

Medical Facilities: Basic medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Iran, but may not be available in outlying areas. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. In some cases, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proven useful. The international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tel. (404) 332-4559, has additional useful health information.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Major crime is generally not a problem for travelers in Iran, though foreigners occasionally have been victims of petty street crime. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the U.S. Interests Section or nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to The Middle East and North Africa." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Criminal Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws and legal practices of the countries in which they travel. Fines, public floggings, and long prison terms are common. Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and possible execution. Penalties in Iran for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict. Iran executes scores of persons each year on drug-related charges.

U.S. citizens in Iran who violate Iranian laws, including laws which are unfamiliar to Westerners (such as laws regarding the proper wearing apparel), may face severe penalties.

The Iranian government reportedly has obtained the names of all claimants who filed claims against Iran at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague pursuant to the 1981 Algiers Accords. In addition, the Iranian government reportedly has compiled a list of the claimants who were awarded compensation in the Iran Claims Program administered by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. The Iranian government is allegedly targeting awardholders who travel to Iran. Upon the claimants' entry into Iran, Iranian authorities are questioning them as to the status of payment of their respective awards with a view to recouping the award money. It is also reported that the Iranian government has threatened to prevent claimants visiting in Iran from departing the country until they make arrangements to pay part or all of their award money to that government.

Dual Citizenship: U.S. citizens who were born in Iran, who have become naturalized citizens of Iran, or who were at one time citizens of Iran, and the children of such persons, are considered Iranian nationals by Iranian authorities. Therefore, despite the fact that these individuals possess U.S. citizenship, they usually must enter and exit Iran bearing an Iranian passport. Exit visas are required for departure from Iran. Recently we have been advised that some former Iranian nationals have been issued visas in their U.S. passports.

In addition, U.S./Iranian dual nationals are subject to Iranian laws which impose special obligations upon Iranian nationals, such as military service or taxes. Exit permits for departure from Iran for such persons may be denied until such obligations are met. For more specific information on Iranian passport and exit visa requirements, you should contact the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan. Dual nationals often have their U.S. passports confiscated and may be denied permission to leave Iran, or encounter other problems with Iranian authorities.

Measures which can be taken to facilitate travel, in the event a U.S. passport is confiscated, are discussed in the section called "Entry Requirements" of this Information Sheet. Specific questions on dual nationality may be directed to the Office of American Citizens Services, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, phone: (202) 647-7899.

Embassy Location: There is no U.S. embassy or consulate in Iran. The U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran is located at Argentine Square, Bucharest Ave., 17th Street, no. 5, Tehran. The local telephone numbers are (98-21) 87152 23/24 and 871 69 06.

The work week is Sunday through Thursday.

The U.S. Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The limited consular services provided by the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, Iran to U.S. citizens include:

(a) registering U.S. citizens;
(b) answering inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran;
(c) rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger;
(d) providing U.S. citizens with passport applications and other citizenship forms for approval at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland;
(e) performing notarial services on the basis of accommodation; and
(f) taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens.

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