Tehran in the Autumn?
July 14, 2011 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Any recent visitors to Tehran?

I'm engaged in consulting work that may take me to Tehran sometime in the next three months or so. I'm American, a long term ex-pat currently living in London and traveling on a US passport. I've travelled solo all over Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of The Middle East so I have some idea what I'm getting into but I've got questions about the basics of life: mobile phone service, internet connectivity, etc. Apple 4G iPhone user but can get another phone if necessary as I suspect it might be due to the physical sim used. Macbook of the moment lacks a modem, how common is wireless? I'm assuming that connectivity back to Europe or North America for email will largely be ok even if I use ssl certs to connect to the mailserve but will ssh tunneling attract attention? Also of interest - how digitally invasive should I expect authorities to be upon entering and leaving the country?

I'm already familiar with the US State Department's Travel Warnings and I've spent times in regimes that were allegedly repressive so I know how to act in that regard but I'm posting because I'm curious about recent, personal experiences with travel into and out of Iran. Any information or tips welcomed. Memail if you'd rather not post.

I've checked the archives, most questions seem to have been posted in 2009 or so. Thanks for your help!
posted by Mutant to Travel & Transportation around Tehran, Iran (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From a contact in Tehran:

Best to get an Irancell sim card, which will give you phone and internet access, since you can use it with a USB 3G modem in your laptop. You can get the cards in shops, possibly even at the airport for about US$5. Top-ups are also widely available.

Web-based email providers are usually not blocked, but Facebook and Twitter are. Many Iranians use VPNs to circumvent this. Accessing a US / UK mail server might attract attention (and the govt is thought to keep an eye on visiting Americans), which is another reason to use a VPN.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:23 AM on July 22, 2011

Best answer: From a different contact, also in Iran:

Hamrah-e-Avval do prepaid SIM Cards as an alternative to Irancell. It's also worth noting that Skype is not blocked in Iran, which could be a good alternative for international calls when you have internet.

There should be no difficulties in using SSL to access mail servers in the US / UK. In general, SSL tunnelling is not blocked.

Some hotels have wifi.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:38 AM on July 25, 2011

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