Because of COVID 19 travel to Iran is not advised at this time.
However, under other circumstances, if travel opens up again, we hope that Americans will take advantage of the opportunity to visit this remarkable country. Reports of our members who have made "return visits" in more recent years (including 2020 before COVID 19), consistently confirm that travel is safe and the Iranians, who easily distinguish between government and people, are very welcoming to travelers from the United States. Some things have changed dramatically--modern highways, a subway in Tehran, irrigation projects; urban growth--but not the courtesy and hospitality of the people.
.Listen to a few Iran Peace Corps Volunteers who have traveled there recently:
. Ann Taaffe (Yazd, 1964-66) Much has changed in Iran since our days there, resulting in a higher standard of living for many. For those with a heart for Iran, it remains a great joy! Of course, we all long for a government friendlier to women's rights, human rights and greater freedom. I hope that the deep goodwill I experienced in Iran will help to bring about solutions on a governmental level. If you have not been back to Iran since your Peace Corps days, find a way to go. You will love it!
. Carolyn Yale (Shiraz, 1974-75) The three of our group who had lived in Iran were eager to revisit and, viewing the politics of that summer with trepidation, hoped that Iranian hospitality would smooth any rough spots. As it turned out, the hospitality and interest in Americans exceeded all expectations.
Behind the inspiration of this special journey to Iran was the dream of building a people-to-people exchange in science and culture. Intervening events have postponed that effort, but not extinguished it. One of our group, Alan Hale, remarking on the friendship he felt among people he met on the trip put it this way, ‘America, are you listening?’
John Lorentz (Karaj, 1962-64) My expectations were far exceeded in the overwhelming warmth, even joy, in the hospitality we experienced throughout the country. It was exactly as I had remembered from pre-revolutionary days and not in the least besmirched by the politics of the day
…Tehran is a relatively well-ordered city - much easier to get around in than the mid-seventies with a superb subway system worth riding just to take in the beautiful art work that adorns each station.”
…Nowhere did I find the decay I remembered or expected. Each city and location had its own vibrance.
…The highways in Iran are in better shape than where I live in the U.S.A.
…Those able to return will find much familiar and much changed, but I suspect they will feel as I did, deeply re-energized by the encounter with Iranians, and grateful for having had the privilege of once calling Iran ‘home’.
Doug Schermer (Semnan, 1966-67) I always wanted to return to Iran for a visit, especially to Semnan where I served. I really wanted to show Iran to my wife. She’d seen my pictures but I wanted her to experience places like Persepolis in person. In 2002 the National Peace Corps Association helped sponsor a tour to Iran. It was the first opportunity we had to go and we took it, although Semnan was not on the itinerary.
In 2014 there was a posting about a trip to Iran on the PCIA Facebook page featuring an optional extension to visit places, like Semnan, where volunteers had served. We jumped at the chance! We enjoyed the two-week tour before traveling to Semnan. It had been 47 years since I had seen Semnan and the people who changed the course of my life.
Be sure to check out these videos!