The official language in Iran is Persian – sometimes referred to as Farsi. However, due to the large and diverse ethnic make-up, there are a number of other tounges spoken. These include Arabic, Azerbaijani, Baluchi, Gilaki, Lori, Mazandarani, and Pashtu, to name a few. English is used at the leading hotels and major tourist areas; however, much less outside the major cities. Taxi drivers tend to not speak English, so be sure to carry the name and address of your hotel or destination written in Farsi.
Iran’s official currency is the rial (IRR), but usually the term "toman" is used. Bank notes are available in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 rial, while coins come in 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000. The rial is not a freely convertible currency so visitors should change money back prior to leaving Iran. With the current political situation, the value is fluctuating significantly, so avoid changing large amounts of money. It's better to only take out what you need as you can always change money frequently rather than in bulk. Avoid using black market money changers as they are illegal. Visitors should also not rely on ATMs or credit cards as they may not be available or accepted in many cases. Instead, head to a legitimate currency exchange or bank.
The time zone in Iran is known as Iran Standard Time, which is UTC +3:30 and UTC +4:30 during summer daylight savings.
Iran uses electricity at 230 V/50 Hz. Both European (round two prongs or Type D plug) and British style (three prongs or Type B plug) sockets are available. Visitors from North America will need a transformer and an adapter.
The calling code for Iran is +98. Travelers who wish to make calls internationally from Iran will need to dial 00 followed by the country code. Most mobile phones cannot be used and it is currently not possible for visitors to buy cell phones or SIM cards. There are internet cafés in Tehran and other major cities, but connections are more difficult to find in the countryside. Free internet is rare.
Visitors should note that bringing any alcohol into Iran is strictly prohibited. Do not try to smuggle drinks in as severe penalties are imposed for breaking the law. It is possible to bring in 200 duty-free cigarettes as well as perfume for personal use.
Iran Tourism Office, Tehran: +98-21-66-28-20-37 or http://www.tourismiran.ir/home.aspx?lang=3
Consulates in Iran
Visitors should be aware that Iran has limited diplomatic relations with other countries and economic sanctions remain in place. There is currently no diplomatic relation between Britain, the US and Iran, with the Swedish Embassy servicing the needs of British nationals and the Swiss Embassy catering to US residents. Visitors should always keep the phone number of their respective embassy on hand at all times in Iran.
French Embassy, Tehran: +98-21-64-09-40-00
German Embassy, Tehran: +98-21-39-99-00-00
Danish Embassy, Tehran: +98-21-22-60-13-63
Canadian Embassy, Tehran: +98—21-81-52-00-00
Austrian Embassy, Tehran: +98-21-22-75-00-38
Australian Embassy, Tehran: +98-21-83-86-36-66
Swedish Embassy (represents British nationals), Tehran: +98-21-23-71-22-00
Swiss Embassy (represents US nationals), Tehran: +98-21-22-54-21-78
Emergency services: 110