Tours of Iran put on hold as political turmoil continues

Tours of Iran are facing an uncertain future as the Foreign Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel to the country.

Last week’s election results saw the re-election of president Mahjmoud Ahmadinejad over rival Mir Hossein Mousavi, which triggered protests that have led to the deaths of more than 10 people and seen hundreds injured.

The FCO has warned against all but essential travel to Iran, and advised Britons to avoid “demonstrations or large public gatherings due to the possibility of further violence.”

Explore Worldwide operations director John Telfer said a walking tour of the country, with 14 customers, due to depart next month, has been pulled as a result of the FCO’s advice.

He added two further tours scheduled for later in the year will be reviewed in two weeks.

Telfer said: “It’s too early to say what will happen, but after what happened over the weekend, we are taking the cautious approach.”

While the Iranian authorities have singled out the British government and accused it of further fermenting political dissent, Telfer said this would not affect Iranian attitudes to UK tourists.

He added: “The Iranian people are able to distinguish the difference between the individual and the government; I don’t think it’ll make any difference to Iranians who have fantastic hospitality and always offer our groups a warm welcome.”

Cox and Kings spokeswoman Laura Smith said the operator had placed all six planned tours, which attract up to 25 customers, departing between September and December, on stop-sale.

She said a review of the trips would run towards the end of the summer, adding: “We’re hoping things will return to normal as soon as possible.”

Photo: Sipa Press / Rex Features

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