This might come as something of a shock considering the bad press the nation gets, but it’s totally possible to travel to Iran, even in the current global environment. The State Department may not think it’s a great idea, but you can still travel there. Regardless of the constant assault on their public image, most of the people of Iran are quite friendly, and if sand is your thing, the country itself can be stunningly beautiful, plus it’s home to thousands of years of history. Of course — and this bit will likely come as no surprise — there are some odd customs, quirks, rules and laws to keep in mind if you should find yourself traveling in Iran.
1. It’s Like ‘Footloose’ Revisited Over There
Iran is like an entire country that’s devoted to John Lithgow’s religious beliefs in Footloose. Western music is strictly forbidden; no tapping, dancing, head bobbing, or anything of the sort is allowed in public. The country used to have the best ballet companies in the Middle East, but things are a tad more strict since the revolution. Case in point, in 2014, a group of young Iranians were arrested and sentenced to 91 lashes and jail time for dancing to Pharell’s “Happy” in the streets of Tehran.