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December 07 2016
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Caravan of the Arts: IRAN 2017

- I am excited to announce that we are going back to visit IRAN in 2017 and we are inviting several of our friends to join us! We have planned 2 special trips to Iran next year in partnership with AltruVistas (sustainable travel organization) and benefitting the OMID Foundation (charity/rehab facility for disadvantaged young women in Iran). I am thrilled to be leading these trips to introduce new people to my ancestral homeland. -Afshin Shirazian - 12/1/16

Next stop, Shiraz: How Iran is becoming a hot tourism destination

- UNESCO sites, desert treks, ski and shopping jaunts -- these are among the attractions drawing millions each year to Iran. Still, all is not smooth sailing. -Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz - 11/29/16

Iran Unveiled; By Wendell Rodricks

- Wendell Rodricks, fashion designer, writer and environmental activist from Goa, shares what he learned about Iran on his recent trip with Cox & Kings (published in HT and Mumbai Mirror). And no, it's probably not what you expected... - 11/27/16

Death toll in train collision in Semnan, Iran reaches 44

- At least 44 died and 100 got wounded after two passenger trains collided in Iran's north-central province of Semnan. So far, 80 of the injured have been transferred to nearby hospitals and 20 got outpatient care, IRNA quoted Mostafa Mortazavi, an official with Iran's Red Crescent Society as saying. - 11/26/16

PHOTOS: 31 people die in train collision in north-central Iran

- More than 30 people have lost their lives and dozens of others have been injured after two passenger trains collided at a station in Iran's north-central province of Semnan. According to local officials, the collision happened at the Haf-Khan station near the city of Shahroud around 7:40 a.m. local time on Friday. - 11/25/16

Lut Desert provides tourism development opportunity: Iranian Official

- The Lut Desert, one of the two deserts dominating the landscape of eastern Iran, has got what it takes to lure travelers considering its geological uniqueness. Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List, the scorching Lut, is a mix of sand and salt. Its calming silence is also amazingly attractive. - 11/18/16

Iran to receive first Airbus jet by 2016 end

- Javad Hashemi Tehrani, the managing director of Aviation Parts Holding Company of Iran, told the domestic media that the Airbus which is expected to be delivered to Iran will be the first of 17 planes that the US Treasury Department has allowed to be sold to Iran. - 11/17/16

Shiraz, Vienna direct flights to be launched soon

- An Aviation official has announced that Shiraz-Vienna direct flights will be soon performed aiming to boost aviation ties with major European airlines. - 11/14/16

US Tour Company Booking Luxury Trips to Iran

- One luxury tour company in the U.S. is promoting a new trip to the country for those willing to take the risk, describing it as the first opportunity to see an Iran opening up to the West after last year's nuclear deal. -AP - 11/11/16

Iran's Chabahar hosts first sea travelers

- Iran says it has launched the first passenger terminal at its only oceanic port thus making it possible to directly host visitors from Pakistan, India, Oman and beyond. The terminal at Chabahar Port which has a total capacity of 400 passengers per day was inaugurated on Wednesday when a ship arrived from Oman's Muscat carrying over two dozen people. - 11/10/16

Luxurious Golden Eagle to resume excursions to Iran

- The Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, a prestigious European operator of exclusive, long-distance rail tours, is scheduled to run new rounds of its services that offers extensive excursions throughout Iran. - 11/9/16

28 dead as bus carrying Iranian pilgrims falls into valley

- Twenty-eight people were killed and 19 injured late on Tuesday when a bus heading from the city of Yazd in Iran to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq fell into a valley. - 11/9/16

Tabriz historic bazaar complex: A melting pot of tradition, trade, and culture

- Tabriz historic bazaar complex, a labyrinth of interconnected covered passages that adds up to about 5 kms, has been a melting pot of cultural exchange since antiquity and once a hot spot on the ancient Silk Road. - 11/1/16

Nasir al-Molk Mosque: Magestic and Historic

- Located in downtown Shiraz lies the elegant Nasir al-Molk Mosque, which boasts extensive colored tilework and glass on its facade as well as exquisite architecture inside. Completed in the end of the 19th century, it is one of the most photographed mosques in southern Iran. - 10/29/16

KLM Airlines resumes flights to Iran

- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, has officially resumed flights to Iran after a hiatus of over three years. The first flight of the company in its new Iran service period landed in Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) on Saturday evening, Iran's local media reported. - 10/23/16

Iran becoming a major destination for European tourists: EU Official

- The European Union commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship said on Tuesday that Iran is being turned into a major tourism destination for European travelers. Although some sticking points, such as investment problems, still remain with the EU side, but "The EU in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and other global establishments tries to overcome the barriers," said Elzbieta Bienkowska - 10/20/16

Iran tourism for women: Safe or not safe?

- With sanctions on Iran being relaxed and airlines including British Airways reintroducing direct flights to Tehran, Iran is once again attracting foreign businesses and travellers. Having just returned from a one-month self-drive tour of the country, I can assure you the destination has much to offer. -Justine Oliver, ETN - 10/20/16

Iran CAPA Aviation Summit - hope turns to frustration, but optimism remains as growth abounds

- When CAPA - Centre for Aviation held its first conference in Iran at the end of Jan-2016 the atmosphere was primarily one of optimism. Immediately preceding the conference the expectation was that Iran and the West would move to rapidly reverse decades of estrangement. The first round of sanctions against Iran had come down - in line with the historic 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the '5+1' powers - and major airlines and aircraft manufacturers were coming to the table. -CAPA - 10/19/16

Tax exemption to incentivize tourism investment in Iran

- Iran will grant years of tax exemption to both domestic and foreign businesses and individuals as an incentive for ramping up investments in its tourism sector, Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Khazaei said on Sunday. - 10/5/16

Two weeks in Iran

- Many delights and surprises await the western traveller to Iran, the modern-day Persia. I returned from a two-week lecture tour in early September on a journey that took me from Tehran then south to Isfahan, the cultural jewel of Iran. From there I travelled to Saadat Shahr (a small town in the south) and finally to Shiraz and to the nearby ancient ruined city of Persepolis, built by King Darius from about 520 BC but ransacked by Alexander the Great some two centuries later. -John Hearnshaw, Stuff - 10/3/16

Foreign tourist visits fetches Iran $24B in 3.5 years: Official

- Some $24 billion came into Iran over the past three and a half years because of foreign tourists, the deputy director of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), Morteza Rahmani-Movahhed, said on Monday. More than 16 million foreign tourists have visited the country during the mentioned period, ISNA quoted him as saying. Each traveler has, therefore, spent $1,500 on average in the country, Rahmani-Movahhed explained. - 9/29/16

President Rouhani: Governments encouraging citizens to visit 'safe' Iran

- Iran's huge investment in security has borne fruit which include drawing foreign investment and tourists, said President Hassan Rouhani. Speaking at a ceremony to mark World Tourism Day (Sept. 27), he said, "Today, even the governments which used to issue warnings to their citizens against traveling to Iran, now acknowledge that Iran is a secure tourist destination." - 9/27/16

Tehran on Mastercard's top ten fastest growing destinations list

- Tehran comes ninth among the top ten fastest growing destination cities, according to the annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index report which released on September 22. The bustling yet historical Iranian capital has witnessed a growth of 12.98 percent in terms of the international overnight visitor arrivals - 9/27/16

Airplanes collide in minor accident in Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport

- Two Iranian passenger planes belonging to Mahan Air and Iran Air collided in Imam Khomeini Airport on Tuesday, an official said. Spokesman for the Civil Aviation Organization Reza Jafarzadeh told IRNA that the incident was a minor one which caused no casualties. - 9/27/16

Inside Iran: Middle East marvel has been off limits for years but is now welcoming Westerners with open arms

- The scorching desert sun has just set behind the majestic, centuries-old Khaju Bridge. But its ancient arches now glow bright yellow in the night sky and set the scene for a wonderful spectacle. The people of Isfahan meet beneath the lights here - and on the Zayandeh River's other crossings - every evening to socialise. -Ben Rankin, The Mirror, UK - 9/24/16

Airbus, Boeing Get U.S. Approval To Sell Planes To Iran

- The U.S. Treasury Department has granted licenses to Airbus and Boeing to sell jet planes to Iran in multibillion-dollar deals. - 9/22/16

First Boeing Jet Joins Iran's Naft Airline: Report

- Iranian Naft Airlines, a homebound charter airline providing passenger and cargo services to Iran's Ministry of Petroleum, says it has received the first Boeing jet. The aircraft, one of the four Boeing 737 single-aisle jetliners bought from the US aviation company, was delivered to Naft Airlines on Sunday - 9/20/16

Iran urges U.S. to unblock aircraft deals, seeks investors

- Iran urged the United States on Sunday to remove remaining obstacles to buying passenger planes following the lifting of international sanctions and it spread out the welcome mat to foreign investors as it seeks to boost its aviation sector. -Reuters - 9/19/16

Iran's largest aviation event opens in Tehran

- Airline companies from around the world are attending a major conference in Tehran, scoping out what many believe is set to be a promising market. The two-day CAPA Iran Aviation Finance Summit opened at Novotel Imam Khomeini International Airport on Sunday with the participation of business leaders and representatives of 150 aviation companies such as Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer. - 9/18/16


- The jungles of Iran's northern Caspian Sea coasts have drawn generation after generation of Iranians looking for a getaway from the country's arid central regions. For Iranians, the word shomal-which means simply "north" in Persian-has become synonymous with vacation. Shomal is a verdant paradise of humid green forests covering high mountains and mile after mile of rice paddies skirting the region's beaches. -Alex Shams, Roads & Kingdoms - 9/12/16

Tourist guides line up for attending WFTGA Convention in Iran

- So far, over 20 tour guides from 10 countries have applied for taking part in the 17th World Federation of Tourist Guide Association (WFTGA) Convention which is to be held in Tehran from January 28 to February 1, 2017. - 9/11/16

British Airways Resumes Direct Flights From London To Tehran

- British Airways is to resume direct flights from London to Tehran, the latest sign of Iran's closer ties with Western countries since the implementation of its nuclear deal with world powers. - 9/2/16

U.S. State Department warns Iranian-Americans about travel to Iran

- Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel. U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country. - 8/23/16

From Sa'dabad to Zanjan: First all-women car rally to be held in Iran

- The first women-only car rally in Iran will be held on August 23-28, it was announced at a press conference at Sa'dabad Palace in Tehran last week. The rally will start at Sa'dabad Tourism Complex in Tehran and will end in the city of Zanjan, passing through Iranian provinces of Alborz and Qazvin. - 8/16/16

Boeing representatives in Tehran: Iranian Minister

- Boeing representatives are currently in Tehran, discussing the US plane maker's planned sale of commercial aircraft to Iran, an Iranian minister says. "Right now, Boeing representatives including three financial, legal and technical groups are in Tehran and negotiating" the sale of jetliners to Iran, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi said on Saturday. - 8/14/16

Iran's miraculous desert glacier

- In the Zard-Kuh, a 4,200m-high mountain range bordering the western flank of Iran's vast central deserts, hides one of the Islamic Republic's most unexpected geographical finds: on the edge of the hot desert is a series of sub-tropical glaciers. -Ian Lloyd Neubauer, BBC - 8/11/16

Germany, Italy and France send most tourists to Iran

- Most of the tourists who apply for getting visa to visit Iran are from Germany, Italy and France, the head of Iranian Tour Operators Association, Ebrahim Pourfaraj, told IRNA on Thursday. "Not taking religious tourists [visiting holy shrines] into account, Europeans rank first among tourists who visit the country," he said. - 8/1/16

US-made aircraft allowed to fly to Iran

- The US has taken another minuscule step toward easing trade restrictions against Iran, allowing international companies to fly American-made aircraft there. Iranians are increasingly becoming uneasy about the consequences of a landmark nuclear deal with the West and other countries, which was presumed to put an end to years of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. - 7/31/16

Poets and pistachios: A journey to the heart of Iran

- Hopes are high that Iran has finally turned a corner and a new era beckons. Rahmatollah was characteristically coy about it all. "The future? Only God knows but good things are coming," he said, gazing out over Mount Karkas. -Nick Boulos, Telegraph - 7/27/16

Bus accident kills 16, injures 13 in north Iran

- At least 16 people have been killed and 13 others injured after their bus smashed into a concrete electricity pylon and overturned in a mountainous road in northern Iran, a provincial police official says. - 7/23/16

Iran's Aseman Airline to get Mitsubishi planes

- Iran says one of its airlines is planning to buy over two dozen planes from Japan's industrial giant Mitsubishi thus confirming earlier reports that a deal to the same effect is in the pipeline. - 7/21/16

NIAC Action Welcomes EU Decision Not to Reciprocate on American Travelers

- NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi released the following statement after the European Commission indicated it would intensify efforts to achieve visa waiver reciprocity, foregoing a potential suspension of the Visa Waiver Program in reaction to restrictions on European travelers: - 7/15/16

Iran extends visa on arrival to 3 months

- Iran has increased its visa on arrival extension from 1 month to 3 months, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicraft Organization Director Masoud Soltanifar announced. For the time being, citizens of 190 countries can obtain visa on arrival at the country's airports with one-month validation, he added. - 7/15/16

Iran to buy planes from Mitsubishi

- Iran has reportedly started talks to purchase planes from Mitsubishi Aircraft - the aviation arm of Japan's industrial giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Japan's media say the country's Mitsubishi Aircraft is negotiating with Iran to provide the country with its regional passenger jets that are currently under development. - 7/14/16

What lies above: Stunning photographs reveal the beautiful ceilings in Iran's mosques, bazaars and public baths

- French photographer Eric Lafforgue has travelled Iran capturing pictures of the country's elaborately tiled ceilings. The images show in intricate detail how heavily mathematics and geometry featured in Islamic architecture. Many experts believe the most exquisite and delicate architecture ever created can be found in Iran -Daily Mail - 7/5/16

Russia set to fund railway line between Iran, Azerbaijan: Report

- According to Tasnim news agency, head of the press service of Azerbaijan Railways OJSC Nadir Azmammadov, has said that Russian Railways OJSC has discussed the terms of its participation in the financing of the Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway with the related parties in the Azeri capital, Baku. - 7/4/16

British Airways delays its relaunch of flights to Iran

- British Airways has postponed the long-awaited resumption of its flights to Iran until September, a report says. The six-weekly direct service to Tehran from London was due to start from July 14 but has now been pushed back due to "some technical issues," The Telegraph has quoted a British Airways spokesperson as saying. - 6/24/16

Discovering Iran: from Caspian Sea to Persian Gul

- The recent diplomatic thaw and growing awareness of its attractions are set to make Iran a must-visit destination. Arron Merat takes a tour from Tehran to the Gulf -Guardian - 6/24/16

Iran needs 551 airplanes by next 9 years: Transport Minister

- Iran's air fleet needs 551 new airplanes by the Iranian calendar year 1404 (March 2025- March 2026), Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi announced on Wednesday. The Iranian air fleet includes 266 airplanes, 100 of which are grounded due to their old age, Akhoundi told IRNA. - 6/23/16

19 Soldiers Die As Bus Plunges Into Ravine in Southern Iran

- 19 people died and dozens more were injured when a bus carrying soldiers plunged into aavine early Wednesday on a road linking the cities of Shiraz and Kerman in southern Iran, ISNA reported. - 6/22/16

Opening Persia

- Forget everything you've ever heard. Iran is open for tourism. This Middle Eastern country, for decades demonized as dark and dangerous, has become today's surprising destination of choice for the adventurous and curious traveler. -Patricia Schultz, Travel Weekly - 6/21/16

Iran Air off safety blacklist, can fly in EU

- The European Commission announced on Thursday that the Iranian flag carrier Iran Air has been taken off a safety blacklist and has thus been cleared to fly in the European Union. - 6/16/16

Destination Iran: Alexander + Roberts Opens a New Frontier

- On Thursday, Alexander + Roberts will open sales for tours to Iran. It will be the first time the company has offered a tour to Iran, but the initiative has been in the making for a long time. -Travel Pulse - 6/9/16

Iran Air eyeing 'historic' deal with Boeing

- Iran Air, the national flag carrier airline of the Islamic Republic, says it is discussing what is seen as a "historic aircraft purchase deal" with global aviation giant Boeing. Iran Air CEO Farhad Parvaresh has told Reuters that serious talks with Boeing to the same effect are underway, expressing hope that these would lead to an agreement sometime soon. - 6/7/16

Armenia OKs abolishing Iran visa regime

- Armenia has announced that it has approved signing an agreement with Iran to abolish the visa regime between the two countries. Armenia's media have quoted the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan as saying that the agreement will help develop relations between Iran and Armenia. - 6/3/16

Persian Easy Rider: Globetrotting Biker Girl Takes on the World

- An intrepid Iranian adventurer named Mahsa Homayounfar has travelled thousands of kilometers around the world on her motorcycle. -Sputnik - 6/3/16

Steigenberger Hotel Group set to build 10 hotels in Iran

- German hospitality company, Steigenberger Hotel Group, is set to build 10 hotels in different parts of Iran over the next ten years. The CEO of Steigenberger Hotels, Puneet Chhatwal, signed an agreement with the deputy director of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), Saeid Shirkavand, during a meeting at Tehran's Espinas Palace Hotel on Sunday. - 5/30/16

Fabulous Finds: The Smallest Tea House in Tehran, Iran

- Through the hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar of Tehran, there's a little tea house belonging to a man who's kindness coupled with his communication skills leaves you for a long conversation after a cup of lip burning tea. Haj Kazem looks like a humble guy, but just chatting with him for a few minutes reveals how educated and worldly he is. -Matin Lashkari, Travestyle - 5/27/16

Historic Iranian village of Abyaneh strained by influx of tourists

- Officials of the historic village of Abyaneh say they are faced with a tsunami of tourists. Mohammad Adeli told ISNA that the village faces a tsunami of tourists especially on weekends and holidays. - 5/16/16

Leader slams "sinful" travel to Turkish resort city

- Iran's Supreme Leader has spoken out against Iranians travelling to destinations such as Antalya in Turkey and called for a ban on the advertisement of such trips. The Javan News Agency reported on Monday May 2 that Ayatollah Khamenei has described Antalya, Turkey as a place of "vice and debauchery" and branded travelling to this city as "sinful". - 5/3/16

Rate of Iranian road deaths triple that of developing countries

- The number of people killed in road accidents in the past year across Iran is 16,500, according to Taghi Mehri, the head of National Road Traffic. Road accidents are the third-highest cause of death in Iran after cardiovascular diseases and cancer. - 4/26/16

Bombardier to set up own airline in Iran: Report

- Canada's global aviation firm Bombardier is reportedly planning to launch its own airline in Iran - a groundbreaking move that could help boost air trips between Iran and Northern America. - 4/25/16

Iranian people: The friendliest in the world?

- I had heard a few things about Iran before I began my journey, that the country is beautiful, its history rich, the architecture is second to none and also that the people of Iran were some of the kindest you could hope to meet. -Lucy Grant-Sturgis, Wild Frontiers - 4/25/16

EU considering lifting Iran Air sanction: WSJ

- The European Union (EU) is reportedly considering removing its air travel restrictions on Iranian national carrier, Iran Air. According to the Wall Street Journal, the EU will send aviation security experts to Iran in May to investigate the airline's security status. - 4/20/16

First Air France jet lands in Iran after eight years

- Iran's media said on Sunday that the first Air France plane had landed in capital Tehran after a hiatus of eight years. The plane - an A330 - has reportedly landed in Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA). It is carrying the French Transport Minister Alain Vidal as well as the CEOs of Air France and Boeing among others, reported, the news agency of Iran's state broadcasting IRIB. - 4/18/16

EU Restrictions on American Travel Delayed, Congress Must Act

- NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the European Commission delayed a decision to suspend the Visa Waiver Program for American travelers by three months - 4/14/16

Boeing offers to sell three new aircraft models to Iran

- US plane maker Boeing has proposed to sell new models of its 737, 777 and 787 aircraft to Iran and promised after-sales support, a top Iranian aviation official says. Meanwhile, Boeing spokesman John Dern told The Associated Press that the company discussed the "capabilities of Boeing airplanes, along with the support the company provides." - 4/12/16

Iran says Boeing team coming to Tehran

- Iran says a top-level delegation from global aviation giant Boeing will arrive in the country within the next days to discuss potential areas of cooperation with Iranian companies. The country's flag-carrier airline Iran Air has announced in a statement that it will host Boeing for its upcoming trade talks in Tehran. - 4/9/16

Stunning photos by an Iranian physicist capture the Iran outsiders never get to see

- Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji is a 25-year-old Iranian physics student. But he spends his free time obsessing over how to make photos that will reveal Iran's architectural heritage and natural beauty to the rest of the world. -Anne Quito, Quartz - 4/9/16

Reimagining Iran: a Persian road trip

- On February 26th, as Irish people voted in the general election, 60 per cent of Iranians also voted. The result was a momentous loss of seats for hardliners who had vehemently fought president Hassan Rouhani's attempts to open the country to valuable external investment and much-needed liberalisation. Early the following Monday morning, we arrived in downtown Tehran to a city silent with sleep and apathy. -Aoibheann MacNamara, Irish Times - 4/9/16

Female Air France Cabin Crews Protest Head Scarves On Iran Flights

- Some female Air France flight attendants have been protesting an airline rule that they must cover their hair when Air France resumes flights to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on April 17. - 4/3/16

Frequently Asked Questions on the Visa Waiver Restrictions

- The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act (H.R. 158) prohibits citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program from visiting the United States under the program if they are dual nationals of or have recently traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria. It was signed into law on December 18, 2015, as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of FY2016. -NIAC - 4/1/16

A Visual Tour of Iran'sTilework

- As the country opens up, it's time to discover its extraordinary decorative tile mosaics, some of the most beautiful in the Muslim world, which seem to grace nearly every building-once you start looking for them. -Elaine Sciolino, Travel & Leisure - 4/1/16

Iran to lift visa with 28 countries

- Iran said on Saturday that it is pursuing a plan to lift visa requirements with 28 countries in an effort which is meant to help boost the mutual tourism ties with the target countries. Iran will need to attract some 20 million foreign visitors by 2025, an ambitious campaign which is expected to fetch the country at least $30 billion. - 3/29/16

18 things to know before you travel to Iran

- Truth be said, Iran is a pretty relaxed country to visit, locals are friendly and very willing to help, plus, in tourist areas you will now find more people speaking English than before, so you will hardly have problems. However, traveling prepared on what to expect and knowing what to do in different situations is always a good habit. -Angela Corrias - 3/22/16
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