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Expats moving to Iran will find a country that has been born out of a rich and tumultuous history. Iran became a unique Islamic republic in 1979 when the monarchy was overthrown by religious clerics, and the country has always boasted an abundance of energy resources such as oil and gas.


Most expats in Iran come from other Middle Eastern states and can be found working as senior management professionals in the state-owned oil and natural gas sectors. Expats tend to be located in Iran’s capital, Tehran, which is also the political, cultural, industrial and commercial centrer of the country.  


There are lots of exciting activities for expats living in Iran, from hiking and skiing in the Alborz mountains to relaxing by the Persian Sea or delving into the rich history, culture, and architecture. 


While Persian or Farsi is the official language of Iran, English is commonly spoken in business circles. Expats should always bear in mind that Iran is a strictly Islamic country. Women should dress modestly as a sign of respect to the local culture and to avoid unwanted attention.


Safety and security are major concerns for expats traveling to and living in Iran. As a result of strained relations between Iran and the West, the situation in Iran for many expats from other regions is volatile. The British Foreign Office and US Department of State warn their citizens against all travel to Iran as there have been incidences of foreigners being kidnapped. Expats in Iran are advised to maintain a low profile and stay well away from any mass gatherings or political protests.


There was once a large number of international schools in Iran to serve expat populations from the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Denmark, France and Japan. However, most of these closed their doors following attacks on the British Embassy in 2011. There are some good private hospitals in Tehran, but the general standard of healthcare in Iran will not meet the standards that most expats are accustomed to, so it's paramount that those moving to Iran have a comprehensive health insurance package.


Ultimately, while expats might be enticed to move to Iran for career progression, it's not a decision to be taken lightly. Because of the volatility of the country and its international standing, expats living in Iran are likely to have their freedoms curbed and feel somewhat more restricted than they would in their home country.  



Living in Iran?


Are you living in Iran? Our Iran guide is still a work in progress and we are always looking for local "expat experts" to help us grow the guide and to answer forum questions for people moving or planning to move to Iran. Please contact us if you would like to contribute.


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