IRAN MEDIA GUIDE
This booklet contains a brief, but helpful cultural, political and socio-economic information on Islamic Republic of Iran, specifically compiled as a guideline for foreign media representatives stationed in Iran as well as visiting journalists.
Relevant information on areas such as demography, hygiene, geography and healthcare are also provided in this guidebook.
Information on country's political structure, political parties and groups and relevant articles of the country's Constitution have been presented in such a manner that provides the reader with basic knowledge about the Iranian legal system, Legislative, Judiciary and Executive branches of Government.
Useful recommendations for those journalists who wish to visit Iran and instructions about how to obtain and extend visa and accreditation have been also included.
We hope the provided information would be found helpful during your visit and stay in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
General Information about Iran:
Name of the country: Islamic Republic of Iran
System of government: Islamic Republic
Official Language: Persian (Farsi)
Official Religion: Shia Islam
Supreme Leader: Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
President: Hassan Rouhani
National Day: 11 February
Population: 77,336,980(Apr.5, 2014)
Currency unit: Iranian Rial
Internet Domain: .ir
International Tel code: +98
Iran is a country located in southwest, neighboring Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia on the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan on the east, and Turkey and Iraq on the west.
Geopolitically, Iran is located on the a very resourceful and geopolitically important and sensitive part of the world and has always been bone of contention among world powers, including Portugal, Britain, Russia, Soviet Union and the United States. Consequently, political events in Iran has always been influenced by country's geopolitical position and has been one of the main topics of debates within the international system and rivalry between superpowers.
With respect to dominance of geo-economics at present, it could be said that the current political conflict and tension between Iran and U.S. has also its origin in Iran's geopolitical location. Iran is located at the heartland of world energy hub and 60 percent of world oil deposit is concentrated at Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions. Since oil is considered as lifeline of modern industries, therefore as former American President Richard Nixon has once said, Persian Gulf or to some extent Iran is the heart of the oil rich region which pumps the blood to industrial world. In addition, more than 70 percent of world's gas reserves are deposited in Persian Gulf and western Siberian regions. In addition, more than 70 percent of world's gas reserves are deposited in Persian Gulf and western Siberian regions. Iran is located at the center of world's energy hob, and for this same reason U.S which is interested in free flow of energy, Iran is considered as important country and existence of numerous U.S. military bases around the energy heartland of the world confirms such importance.
With 6,000 years of history, Iran is one of the most ancient countries in the world.
The manuscripts discovered in western Iran dating 3200 BC, well indicate that writing has one of its main roots in ancient Iran.
The first Persian Empire, with Persepolis as its capital, was established 2500 years ago by the Achaemenians in Fars (also called Pars) province where the name Persia originates from.
Iran has never been a colony or protectorate and during the past 450 years has not attacked or invaded any of its neighboring countries.
Iran has experienced two revolutions and two military coups during the past 100 years. The first coup was staged by Reza Khan, the founder of the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1920 and the second took place in 1953 in a joint plot hatched by CIA and the British intelligent service MI6 which resulted in reinstating of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and overthrow of the popular government of the then Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
Democratic movements began in Iran with 1906 Constitutional Movement (also known as Constitutional Revolution) which became the cornerstone of the parliamentary system of government and the rule of law in the country.
Throughout the history, Iran had always except during domination of Arab caliphs, been a monarchical state until the 1979 Islamic Revolution led by the late Imam Khomeini that toppled the monarchy and resulted in establishment of Islamic Republic.
Currently, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hoseini Khamenei serves as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution as well as the head of state.
Language and literature
Persian or as locally said Farsi is the official language of the country. Persian serves as a lingua franca in Iran and most publications and broadcastings is in Persian. Persian language also plays a major rule along with Islam as official language and religion in forging national unity in a country with diverse ethnicity. Next to Persian, there are many publications and broadcastings in other relatively popular languages spoken in different parts of the country such as Azeri, Kurdish, Arabic, Baluchi and Armenian. Persian belongs to Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The oldest records in Old Persian date to the Achaemenid Empire, and examples of Old Persian has been found in present-day Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
In addition to Iran, Persian is spoken in northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan, but was historically a more widely understood language in an area ranging from the Middle East to India, significant number of people speaking Persian live in Persian Gulf countries, as well as large communities around the World.
Persian, until recent centuries, was culturally and historically one of the most prominent languages of the Middle East and regions beyond. For example, it was an important language during the reign of the Moguls in Indian where knowledge of Persian was cultivated and encouraged but it was banned in 1837, by officials of East Indian Company (British Colonial rulers).
Persian scholars were prominent in both Turkish and Indian courts during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries in composing dictionaries and grammatical works.
Persian is a brunch of Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and is official language in Iran and Tajikistan and along with Pashto is one of the two official languages in Afghanistan. Persian was the official language in India before arrival of British colonialists.
In 1872, in a gathering of European literary figures and linguistics in Berlin, Greek, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit were termed as world's classic languages. Based on such definition, classic language mean first to be ancient, second to have rich literature and third in the past millennium has had remained more or less intact.
Persian is number one among 3 world major languages with respect to number and diversity of idioms and proverbs. The number of words in Persian language is also very large and rich in comparison with other languages.
Persian is the other tongue of 53 percent of Iranians, and Persian is number 13 widely used in Internet.
According to article 15 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran, Persian language and writing are the official and common among Iranians. All official correspondents and school books should be in Persian but using local and ethnic languages and dialects along with Persian language in media and their teaching in schools are also authorized
Iranian official calendar is based on Solar year and March 21 is first of the Iranian month of Farvardin and beginning of Iranian New Year called Nowruz (www.calendar.ut.ac.ir). Also in Iran, Lunar calendar is used for religious events and rituals, because migration date of Holy Prophet Mohammad(S) from Mecca to Madinah on 621AD is the beginning of the official Lunar and solar calendar, according to Article 17 of Iranian Constitution. In month of Ramadan Iranian Muslims observe fasting and in Muharram they mourn for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the third Imam of Shi’ites. On Thursdays some governmental organizations and departments are open half day and are and Friday is holiday in Iran and therefore only few shops and trading centers are open on Fridays. During these two Lunar months daily activities somehow differ from other months and there are few religious holidays within these two months. Friday is official holiday.
The currency in Iran, or the money used, is called the Rial (pronounced ‘Riyal’). Rial was first introduced as the currency in Iran in 1798 as a coin.
When talking about money Iran, you may hear the word “Toman”. Toman is an old term equivalent to 10Rls. is widely used in daily transactions .In Tehran banks are open from 08:00 to 16:00 Saturday to Wednesday and 08:00 to 13:00 Thursday. Friday
In other cities banks are open from 08:00 to 13:00 Saturday to Wednesday and 08:000 to 12:00 Thursday. what is called credit card issued by banks, has become the most popular means for payments of purchased goods and commodities these days in nearly all shops and trade centers.
Notes are in denominations of Rls. 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000
Iranian culture has long been the dominant culture in the Middle East and Central Asia, with Persian considered the language of intellectuals during much of the 2nd millennium. Iranian culture and Persian language have contributed greatly to development of philosophy, medicine and Islamic Jurisprudence. The Iranian New Year (Nowruz) is an ancient tradition celebrated on 21 March to mark the beginning of spring in Iran. It is also celebrated in Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan as well as among Kurds in Turkey and northern Iraq. Nowruz was registered as human heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009.
Islam and Twelver Shi’ism is the official religion in Iran and; 90% of Muslim population adheres to Shia branch of Islam, about 8% are Sunnis. The remaining 2% are non-Muslim religious minorities, including Zoroastrian, Jews, and Christians. These three minority religions are officially recognized and protected, and have reserved seats in the Majlis (Iranian Parliament). Islam has been the official religion of Iran since the Islamic conquest of Iran in 640 AD but it took another few hundred years for Shia Islam to become a power in Iran. The first Shia government was established by Alavids dynasty (864 - 928) in Mazandaran (Tabaristan), north of Iran. The Buyid dynasty emerged in Daylaman, north of Iran, about 930 AD and then ruled over central and western part of Iran and Iraq until 1048. In 1501, the Safavid dynasty declared Twelver Shi’ism, as the official religion in the country.
Tehran is the capita and country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center, housing large number of people in and around itself. In fact it could be said that Tehran is a mirror reflecting the whole country. Majority of the capital’s dwellers are migrants move to Tehran from rural areas and have brought with themselves the rural subcultures to this metropolitan of 270 years old.
Tehran’s population increased sixty folds from 200,000 in 1900 to12.5 millions in 2014. In the same period, however, total population of Iran increased more than 8 folds, from nearly 10 million to 80million during the same period. This population explosion is the result of mass migrations due to the Capital’s unique attractions. The capital that was merely a small town 100 years ago has now become a more or less a modern metropolis, because of centralization and improvements in social welfare.
The best feature of the city is the magnificent Alborz mountain range on the northern side, covered with snow usually from November to May. There are plenty of beautiful parks in Tehran, especially in the northern and more prosperous parts of the city, including Jamshidiyeh, Mellat, and Gheytariyeh. One of the best things about Tehran is that it is easy to escape to the countryside. Towns such as Lavasan and Fasham located in a mountainous region east of Tehran within one hour driving distance with clear fresh air. Three major ski resorts, Shemshak, Dizin and Darbandsar are just two hours drive from the capital. There are hotels and chalets to accommodate tourists throughout the year.
The city is home to many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. Contemporary Tehran is a modern city featuring many structures, of which the Azadi (Freedom) Tower and the Milad Tower have come to be symbols of Tehran itself. Persian or as its better known Farsi is the city's native language, with roughly 98% of the population speak or understand Farsi. Archaeological studies and excavations in Tehran show that this area was home to civilizations as far back as 6,000 years BC in the village of Ray which is now incorporated into the city. Tehran served only as a village to a relatively small population for most of its history, but began to take a more considerable role in Iran after it was made the capital in the late 18th century. Despite of earthquakes during the Qajar era and before, some buildings still remain from Tehran's antiquity time.
The Azadi monument at Azadi Sq. in western entrance of Tehran along with Milad Telecommunication Tower, are considered as capital’s twin symbols.
Among numerous tourists attractions of Tehran, Grand Bazar in down town, Palace Museums of Niavaran, Saad Abad and Golestan, variety of Museums such Contemporary Art Museum adjacent to Laleh Park close to Laleh International Hotel, religious sited such as Emamzadeh Saleh the burial place of a decedents of Shi’ite Imam at Tajrish Sq, in most northern part of Tehran and Imam’s Mosque near Bazar and Martyr Motahari Mosque near the old Parliament building, are the well known ones.
Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models.
Tchogha Zanbil The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, surrounded by three huge concentric walls, are found at Tchogha Zanbil. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal.
Meidan Imam Built by Shah Abbas I the Great at the beginning of the 17th century, and bordered on all sides by monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storey arcades, two very impressive monuments known as Imam Mosque and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque are some of the magnificent building constructed in Safavid era..
Takht-e Soleyman The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman, in north-western Iran, is situated in a valley set in a volcanic mountain region. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sasanid.
Bam citadel Bam is situated in a desert environment on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau. The origins of Bam can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC). This marvelous and largest mud made castle was devastated by a major earthquake on December 2003. This ancient citadel has been partially restored and opened to visitors.
Bam citadel Bam is situated in a desert environment on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau. The origins of Bam can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC). This marvelous and largest mud made castle was devastated by a major earthquake on December 2003. This ancient citadel has been partially restored and opened to visitors.
Pasargadae Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in 6th century BC. Pasargadae is the Burial place of Cyrus the Great.
Bisotun Inscription This inscription is the largest of its kind in the world and the first Inscription in Iran dating back to 522 BC. It is located in Bisotun Mountain in Harsin a small town near Kermanshah. It is 15 meter high and 25 meters wide and describes victories and conquests by Darius the Great. This monument was registered as world heritage in 2006 by UNESCO
St. Thaddeus Monastery (Qara Kilisa)-
the oldest church in Iran located near the provincial town of Maku in West Azerbijan Province. It is an ancient Armenian monastery. Saint Thaddeus was one of the twelve Apostles Jesus Christ sent to the region to promote Christianity. He was killed in 66AD by Armenian king of the time and was buried at the church ground.
Press and Broadcasting Media
Surveys have found that television is significantly more popular than radio or newspapers and that Iranians rely mostly on domestic television for their news and information. There are a large number of daily and weekly publications and the press reflects a range of political viewpoints, albeit within the limits of laws of the country. All publications are to obtain publication license from Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Recent years has seen an increase in the number of news agencies and web-based news sites, the latter serving to promote the viewpoints various political factions. Politicians and activists have also taken advantage of the development of weblogs, and number of Internet users in Iran in comparison to most countries is quite high.
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is the state organization in charge of domestic and overseas broadcasting. Its domestic services are also known as the Voice and Vision (Seda va Sima) of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Chairman of IRIB is appointed for 5 years term Supreme Leader. Mr. Mohammad Sarfaraz is the incumbent president of IRIB who was appointed to the post in Oct. 2014.An oversight council consisting of representatives from 3 branches of government supervises activities of IRIB.
IRIB's main funding comes from the state and is included in the annual government annual budget. It has also some considerable revenue through advertising, sponsorship and other commercial activities.
Iranian television networks have expanded rapidly in the past 25 years. Iranian TV Channels broadcast their local and overseas programs via a number of satellites including Intelsat. IRIB current has 19 domestic channels, one special channel devoted to Iranian expatriates and 6 International channels. In addition in 23 out of 31 provinces, there is a local TV channel airing programs in some cases in local language and dialect.
There are also 21 radio channels broadcasting round the clack programs for domestic audience and in 30 languages for overseas listeners. Both radio and TV programs aired by IRIB are also available live via Internet: http://www.1.live.irib.ir
Domestic TV channels
Most broadcasts are in Persian, with some brief news bulletins in English late at night aired by Channel 5. Locally-produced provincial programming in languages such as Azeri, Kurdish and Arabic are also broadcast in some provinces.
The main nationwide channels are:
Channel 1, also known as the National Channel. It caters for a general audience and broadcasts the main daily TV news bulletins at 14:00 and 21:00 (local time). Its terrestrial transmissions are thought to cover 96 per cent of the country, more than any of the other channels.
Channel 2, known as the Culture Network. Airs similar programs, but includes some documentaries and feature films for public entertainment..
Channel 3, is the Youth Network and said to be the most popular channel. It broadcasts mostly sports and light entertainment programs.
Channel 4, broadcasts scientific, educational, religious and cultural programs.
Channel 5, is also known as the Tehran Network. It broadcasts light entertainment, local news and current affairs.
Quran Network, this began by producing programming which was broadcast on other IRIB outlets. In October 2005 it moved to 24-hour broadcasting on its own channel.
News Network (IRINN) - also known as Shabakeh Khabar. Channel 6 is a round the clock news channel. It was launched in 1999.
There are several specialized TV channels such as Quran and Islamic Science, Payam, Amoozesh, Labbayk, Nasim, Shoma, Namayeh, Mostanad, Bazar and Pooya which have their own viewers interested in cultural, religious, economic and entertainment contents.
IRIB began international TV broadcasts in 1997 and currently has several world service channels:
Jame- Jam Chnnel- There were 3 networks named Jam-e-Jam but they were incorporated and currently there is only one channel with this name broadcasting variety of programs for Iranians living abroad.
Al-Alam - Is IRIB's 24-hour Arabic news channel. It transmits on a number of satellites and mostly covers regional developments.
Hispan TV- Is a Spanish language news channel airing programs for viewers in Latin American countries.
IFilm Channel - Broadcasts films and TV series in Persian, English and Arabic.
IRIB operates dozens of nationwide radio networks, a number of provincial stations and an external service that broadcasts in 30 languages including Arabic, English, Azari, Armenian, Bengali, Bosnian, Chinese, Dari, French, Georgian, German, Jewish, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kazak, Kurdish, Pashto, Russian, Swahili, Tragic, Turkmen, Uzbek and Urdu for foreign listeners
All publications are required to apply to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for a license and are also subject to the Press Law.
There are some 20 major national dailies which represent various political views:
Keyhan - www.kayhannews.ir
Jomhuri-ye Eslami - www.jomhourieslami.com -
Resalat - www.resalat-news.com
Iran - Published by IRNA, the state news agency-www.iran-newspaper.com
Jaam-e Jam, Affiliated to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)
Hamshahri - Owned by Tehran Municipality - www.hamshahri.org
Donyayeh Eghtesad – www.donya-e-eqtesad.co
Siyasat-e Ruz – www.siasatrooz.ir
Hemayat - www.hemayatonline.ir
Tehran-e Emruz – www.tehraneemrooz.com
MardomSalari - www.mardomsalari.com
Aftab-e Yazd - www.aftabyazd.com
Abrar – www.home.abrarnews.com
Ettela'at – www.ettelaat.com
Shargh - www.sharghdaily.ir
Etemad - www.etemadnewspaper.ir
For further information about Iranian Press, please refer to:
The most widely-read newspapers in Iran, however, are the sports journals. Some two million copies of them are read every day. Their circulation can double after a major football match. The most popular ones are:
Navad (Ninety); Khabar-e Varzeshi (Sports News); Abrar-e Varzeshi (Abrar Sports); Iran-e Varzeshi (Iran Sports); Jahan-e Football
There are five English dailies:
Tehran Times - www.tehrantimes.com
Iran Daily - www.iran-daily.com
Iran News - www.irannewsdaily.com
Keyhan International- www.keyhan.ir.en
Financial Tribune- www.financialtribune.com
Table of local press:
Type of Media
Sequence of Publication
Twice a week
Twice a year
Every 10 days
3 times a year
3 times a week
Main News Agencies
Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) - Is Iran's official news agency. It was established in 1934 under the name of Pars News Agency, changing its name after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
In addition to Persian, IRNA also carries reports in English, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, French, Spanish Turkish and Serb-Croat. IRNA publishes seven dailies and periodicals, including the Persian-language daily Iran, the English-language Iran Daily and the Arabic-language Al-Wefaq.
Fars news agency - Established in 2003, dispatches reports in Persian and English.
Mehr news agency - In addition to Persian, Mehr also carries reports in Arabic, English, Urdu, German and Turkish.
Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) – Set up in 1999. It has some reports in English. www.isna.ir
Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) - Was launched on 2003. It is affiliated to the Workers' House (Khane-ye Kargar), Iran's main labor organization.
Tasnim News agency -Is a government news agency in Iran opened in 2012. Its purpose is to cover a variety of political, social, economic and international subjects along with other fields
Main Institutions of Islamic Republic of Iran:
- Supreme Leader: One of the unique characteristics of Islamic Republic of Iran is the office of the Supreme Leader as the highest official o the country (Article 113 of the Constitution). Supreme Leader is head of the state and commander in chief of country's armed forces. Supreme Leader has been appointed to the post by Experts Assembly whose 88 members are elected by direct popular vote. Followings are some of he main tasks and responsibilities of Supreme Leader:
- Overseeing proper implementation of country's general policies
- Issuing order for holding referendum
- Declaration of war and peace and mobilization of forces
- Commander in chief of armed forces
- Settling disputes between 3 brunches of government
- Reducing the person terms of prisoners or their amnesty on the suggestion of head of judiciary
Appointment and dismissal and accepting resignations:
a- Jurisprudent members of Guardian Council
b- Head of Judiciary
c- Chairman of Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting(IRIB)
d- Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
e- Commander of Revolutionary Guard Corps
f- High ranking commanders of armed and law enforcement forces
- Constitutional Law: On Aug.3 1980, Constitutional Assembly election was held and on Aug. 29, the elected members of the assembly started compiling of the Constitutional Law. On Nov. 15, the draft of the constitution became ready and 2 days later it was published by newspapers. The referendum on Constitutional Law was held on Dec.25 and was approved by 99.5 percent of voters.
- Experts Assembly: made up of 88 qualified jurisprudents, who based on Article 107 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran are responsible for appointing and overseeing the works of Supreme Leader.
- Guardian Council of the Constitution: Based on Article 13 of the Constitution, Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis or Parliament) is not a legitimate and lawful body in absence of the Guardian Council. Confirming compatibility of laws passed by Majlis with Islamic Sharia is the most important responsibility of this council. Guardian Council consists of 12 members, 6 of them jurisprudents appointed by the Supreme Leader and other 6 members are proposed by head of the judiciary and approved by the Majlis.
- Expediency Council: a body tasked with settling possible disputes between Majlis and the Guardian Council. Abiding of the resolution approved by this entity is mandatory. This council was formed upon a decree Issued by the late Imam Khomeini. In addition, this council is also responsible for formulating the overall policies of the country and upon approval by the Supreme Leader their implementations become obligatory.
- Legislative: Islamic Consultative Assembly in addition to lawmaking oversees the performance of executive brunch and is also responsible for safeguarding the rights of the people and their interest. According to Article 171 of the Constitution, can pass laws within the scope of the Constitutional Law on all public issues. Parliamentarians are elected by direct and secret allots and presently there are 290 lawmakers. Zoroastrians, Asyrians and Jews each have one and Armenians have two representatives in the Parliament.
- Judiciary: Judiciary is an independent establishment of Iranian system of government responsible for safeguarding personal and social rights of Iranian nation as well as dispensing of justice. Head of Judiciary is appointed by the Supreme leader.
- Executive: This branch of Iranian government is the third pillar of Iranian system of government and is responsible for running the executive affairs of the country. Head of this Branch as president is elected by direct vote of eligible voters.
Political parties and groups:
According to Article 26 of the Iranian Constitution, Political parties, Societies, groups and gilds as well as Islamic and recognized religions associations are authorized to function on the condition that they do not violate independence, freedom and national unity of the nation, Islamic norms and fundamentals of the Islamic Republic. None could be barred from joining such institution or forced to become their member.
Legal political parties in Iran are of following nature and factions;
- University students societies
- Environment and human rights parties and establishments
Art and Cinema:
Several annual art festivals take place in Iran. Some of the important cultural events are as follows:
- International Fajr Film Festival
- Fajr Theater Festival
- Fajr Music Festival
- Tehran International Short Film Festival
- National Student Film Festival
- International Human and nature Caricature Festival
- International Imam Reza(AS) art and Cultural Festival
- Children and Young Adults Film Festival,
- Rooshd International Film Festival
Since victory of glorious Islamic Revolution, 33 annual international film festival has taken place in the country attend by local and international filmmakers and directors.
For further information about cinema and other cultural events please refer to following address:
Festival of Press and News agency:
Press and Media Department of Ministry of Culture and Islamic guidance holds annual Festival of Press and News agencies and since victory of the Islamic Revolution 30 of such festival has taken place in the country. In seven of these occasions large number of foreign media has been present and foreign journalists have taken part in roundtable discussions and lecturing.
Foreign Media Department:
Based on the sub-article 15 of article 2 of the law governing the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance dated Mar.2, 1987 passed by Islamic Consultative Assembly, issuing establishment license, dissolving and overseeing the activities of foreign news media and representatives of foreign news agencies as well of permission for entry and activities of foreign journalist in the country is part of the responsibilities of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and Foreign Media Department as one of the sub-divisions of the said ministry has the following responsibilities:
- Issuing permission for establishment of an office by foreign media in the country
- Issuing permission for activities of foreign journalists in Iran
- Approving the entry visa granted to foreign journalists
- Approving extension of visa, issuing of residence permit and issuing of multi-entry visa for foreign journalists
- Approving activities of cultural institutions serving foreign journalists
- Inviting foreign journalists to cover important news events
For further information and recommendations, please call following Telephone Nos.:
Visa procedures for foreign journalists
- Submission of a written request letter from the concerned media along the visa application to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran at respective country.
- The embassy will complete the forms and send them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran.
- Foreign Ministry in Tehran shall then send the request to the Foreign Media Dept. of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
- The received applications are processed by the Foreign Media Dept. and authorization to grant visa is sent back to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran.
- Foreign Ministry will then send the instruction to the consulate and a journalist visa will be granted to the successful applicant.
- The normal procedure will take 7 to 10 day, while under special circumstances it may take fewer days.
For further information about visa obtaining process, please refer to Iranian missions in your home country.
Alert of news events
Soon after being informed of a news event, the Foreign Media Dept. will inform all the foreign media offices and journalists registered with this department by e-mail, SMS, fax or direct telephone calls for the news coverage.
Foreign journalists arriving in Iran are recommended to take note of the following
- Iran does not recognize dual nationality. This means that individuals having both Iranian and foreign citizenship must enter Iran with their Iranian passport and will be regarded as an Iranian citizen.
- Make sure your visa is still valid when leaving the country or else you will be fined Rls.300,000 (aprox.$10)
- All international air traffic has been diverted to Imam Khomeini Airport since November 2007 and Mehrabad Airport in Tehran is now only used for domestic flights. Imam Khomeini Airport is situated 35Km southwest of the capital. The check in procedure is rather time taking, therefore it is highly recommended to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of your departure time. There is a bank to exchange money located at the ground floor of the airport. Two 4 and 5 stars luxurious hotels named Axis are available for foreign gust arriving at Iran. There is no bus service available to the city, however enough airport taxis are usually available outside the main building. Commuting train service between Tehran and the airport is due to be launched in near future. Use only the registered airport taxis and avoid casual ones.
- It is forbidden to bring alcohol and narcotics into the country and Iranians and foreigners alike are not allowed to consume any of these substances while in Iran.
- Every individual leaving Iran is allowed to take a maximum of 20 SQ.M of Persian carpet with them each year free of export tax.
- Traveling to border areas with Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan must be coordinated with the foreign Media Dept., in order to make the necessary arrangements with concerned authorities.
- Cash is the usual method of payment in Iran. International credit cards and traveler checks are not accepted. United States Dollar and the Euro are the main foreign currencies exchanged in Iran while all other currencies are exchangeable too. Banks and exchange bureaus usually have the same rate. Having or spending Dollars or any other currency is not illegal but you are recommended not to exchange on the street and use only the many existing licensed Exchanges.
- Security and Law Enforcement forces treat people and foreigners as well with respect, however beware of cons impersonating to be security officers, although this is a very rare incident in Iran but not unprecedented which requires caution, not alarm.
- Valid international driving license is needed to drive in Iran.
- Taking pictures or filming military installations and sensitive premises requires prior coordination and written permission from the concerned authorities. Ignoring this guideline can cause incontinence and even problem.
- Iran is an Islamic country and therefore women must respect and comply with the cultural and religious values and dress codes. The color of the outfits does not matter. Pay more attention to clothing while visiting religious and cultural sites such as mosques and Bazaars.
- Dating between opposite sex is not allowed before marriage and can be punishable by law. Renting a room at hotels around the country would require a marriage certificate for couples, preferably translated to Persian.
- Eating and drinking in public is strictly forbidden before the sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.
- Only take registered taxis and avoid hiring a private car unless it is from a registered taxi operator. Colors of taxis in Tehran are usually yellow but there are also other operators with green taxis.
- If your documents or belongings are lost or stolen, you must inform the Police immediately and obtain the police report which would enable you to follow the case at a later stage.
- Iran is a safe country but it is still recommended to be cautious and vigilant if you come across something suspicious.
- Pick pockets and petty crimes are rare in Iran but still it is recommended to be cautious particularly when in busy areas such as Bazaar and under grounds.
- The quality of medical care in Iran is quite high and large number of hospitals and clinics are available providing all sorts of medical treatments.
- The electricity outlet in the country is 220 volts.
- Persian is the spoken language in Iran but there are different regional dialects and accents. A considerable percentage of people have some knowledge of English language but overall you are recommended to have a guide or a dictionary with you at all times.
- If you need assistance during your stay in the Islamic Republic, you can seek help from companies established for this purpose. Details of these companies including their Telephone number could be obtained from foreign Media Department.
- Service companies are obliged to provide assistance to foreign journalists based on rules and regulations set by Foreign Media Department. In case of and irregularities and complains please inform this department. Links of these companies are available in the website of Foreign Media Department.
- Non-resident journalist can purchase Credit SIM cards from client offices of Mobile phone service providers such as Irancell.
For information about name and number of residing foreign media bureaus in Iran and name of their person in charge, please refer to our website.
Customs Law pertaining to entry of foreign journalists:
- Foreign journalist arriving at Iran by presenting their valid Press Card can bring their professional equipment such as laptop, Camera, video camera, tape recorder and other items needed for reporting within limits international standards by registering them in customs documents and take them back exactly upon departure.
- Reporter can bring in their wireless satellite equipment and accessories by receiving permission from Iranian Telecommunication Department on temporary bases.
- Foreign journalist can travel to Iran by their own private car provided that they receive what is called “Triptic” or temporary entry license and take it back when leaving the country.
- Please note that the words “Validity Duration” indicated on the on your passport’s visa page refers to the period of time you can enter and leave the country.
- In case your visa term expires, your stay in the country will be considered as illegal and you will be dealt based on the relevant law.
- Foreign Media Department day working days and hours:
Saturday- Wednesday: 08:00- 16:00
Thursdays and Fridays: Holiday
During the month of holy Ramadan and Nowruz holidays, working hours are shortened
Helpful Phone Numbers
Medical Emergency 115
Fire Department 125
Exchange Rate 6099 2828
Iran Air 199
Imam Khomeini International Airport 51001
Ministry of Foreign Affairs 6115
Tehran Telephone Taxi 133
Relevant Articles of Iranian Press Law
According to the following article of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Constitution Press have freedom of expression unless they violate the basic tenets of public rights. The article reads as follows:
Chapter III: The Press Rights
Article 3: The Press has the right to publish and bring to the public’s attention the people’s and the officials’ views, constructive criticisms, suggestions, [and] explanations in accordance with Islamic values and society’s interests.
Note 1: Constructive criticism is conditional upon being logical and reasoned and refraining from insults, humiliation, and destructiveness.
Article 4: No official, governmental or not, has the right to pressure the Press to print an article or to influence it through censorship or controls.
Article 5: The Press has the legal right to acquire and publish domestic or foreign news which is intended to increase public awareness and protect society’s interests, in conformity with this law.
Note 1: In the event of a complaint filed with the court, a violation of Articles 4 or 5 will incur a removal from [government] service of six months to two years and, in the case of a repeated violation, for permanent removal from government service. [It seems likely here that the penalty is actually a removal from the press and not government service.]
Note 2: The regulations ratified by the Supreme National Security Council are incumbent upon the Press. In the event of a violation, the court may temporarily close down the offending publication for up to two months and the investigation of its license will be prioritized.
Note 3: If a publication’s specialized articles are published in the author’s name (whether his actual name or a pseudonym), he will be responsible under the law supporting the rights of authors and craftsmen and artists; otherwise, the publication will be.
Chapter IV: Limits on the Press
Article 6: The Press is free, except for items which undermine Islam’s bases and commandments, and public and private rights, as set forth in this chapter:
i. Publishing heretical articles which violate Islamic values and spreading material which harms the bases of the Islamic Republic.
ii. Spreading fornication and forbidden practices and publishing photographs, pictures, and material which violate public chastity.
iii. Propagating and spreading over consumption and profligacy.
iv. Creating conflicts between social layers, particularly through raising racial or ethnic issues.
v. Encouraging people and groups to become implicated in actions against the Islamic Republic’s security, reputation, and interests, domestically or abroad.
vi. Exposing or publishing classified documents, orders, and issues; secrets of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces, military plans, and fortifications; the Islamic Consultative Assembly’s private deliberations; and private decisions of the judiciary and decisions of the judicial authorities without legal permission.
vii. Insulting the true religion of Islam and its sanctities, as well as insults to the Office of the Supreme Leader and the recognized Sources of Emulation.
viii. False charges against the officials, institutions, organs, and each person in the country and abusing actual or legal figures who are respected under sharia law, even if by publishing photographs or cartoons.
ix. Cultural theft and acts like quoting material from the deviant press, parties, or groups which oppose Islam (domestically or abroad) in such as way as to propagate them. (The limitations of the above, is specified in the Bylaws.)
Note 1: Cultural theft consists of the intentional passing off of a significant portion of someone else’s works or writings, in whole or in part [sic], as one’s own or as belonging to a third party, even in the form of a translation.
x. Objectifying use of a person (either of a female or a male) in pictures or in text, humiliating and abusing the female gender, propagating extravagance and illegitimate and illegal grandeur.
xi. Spreading rumors and untrue articles or distorting the articles of others.
xii. Publishing articles against the Constitution’s principles.
Note 2: A violation of what is set forth in this Article is subject to punishments as determined in Article 698 of the Islamic Penal Code and in the event of persistence, they are subject to an intensification of the punishments and the forfeiture of one’s license.
Note 3: Editor in chief of the newspapers is accountable for articles published in his paper but such responsibility does not relieve the writer of the article and others involved in the crime, from liability.
Article 23: Whenever something is published in the Press containing an insult or abuse or an untruth or a criticism of someone (legal or actual entity), the concerned party has the right to send an answer to it in writing within the space of a month in that same publication, and the publication in question is obliged to print such explanations and responses for free in one of the two issues after receiving the answer, to be published on that same page and column and in the same font in which the original article was published on the condition that the answer not exceed twice the length of the original article and that it not include insults or abuse of anyone.
Article 34: Investigations of press penalties will be made in public courts, revolutionary courts, and other judicial authorities in accordance with the laws relevant to their suitability. In any case, it is necessary that they be public and that a jury be present.