Sanctions Lifted, American Tourists Head to Iran

The lifting of sanctions on Iran last month has resulted in a surge of bookings, tour operators say, many from Americans undeterred by a State Department warning laying out the risks of taking trips there.

Tour operators say the demand has been so acute that they are racing to add new departures and selling them in record time.

“It’s similar to Cuba in my mind where suddenly it’s both O.K. to go there officially but also with travelers thinking this place is going to change,” said Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development at the Berkeley, Calif.-based Wilderness Travel, which sold out its spring trip to Iran and is planning a fall trip focused on the saffron harvest. “They want to experience the destination before it gets watered down by lots and lots of people going.”

Iran hosts some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments, including 19 Unesco World Heritage Sites, and its varied terrain ranges from desert locales to ski resorts.

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Head  /hed/   V

move in a specified direction.

“he was heading for the exit”

synonyms:   move towards, go towards


surge  uk   /sɜːdʒ/  us   /sɝːdʒ/ N

a ​sudden and ​great ​increase:

“An ​unexpected surge in ​electrical ​power ​caused the ​computer to ​crash.

“There has been a surge in ​house ​prices ​recently.”



an ​arrangement you make to have a ​hotel ​room, ​tickets, etc. at a ​particular ​time in the ​future:

“We made the booking three ​months ago.”

“ Brad was away so we had to ​cancel the booking. “

“The show had already taken £4 million in ​advance bookings.”

I ​filled in the booking ​form and ​sent it off.


Undeterred    adjective /ˌʌn.dɪˈtɜːd/ us /-ˈtɝːd/

still ​continuing to do something or ​enthusiastic about doing it ​despite a ​bad ​situation:

After four ​years of ​injury ​problems, Thomas ​remains undeterred.


State Department

the ​part of the US ​government that ​deals with ​foreign ​matters.


Lay out

to explain something carefully and clearly

“The documents lay out the principles clearly enough.”


Acute      /əˈkjuːt/    Adj

very serious or severe

“an acute shortage of medical supplies”

“There is an acute shortage of science teachers.”


Departure  /dɪˈpɑː(r)tʃə(r)/   N

a plane, bus, or train that leaves a place at a particular time

“The next departure for New York will be at 11.00.”


In record time  

very quickly.


Sell out

to ​sell all of the ​supply that you have of something:

“We ​sold out of the T-shirts in the first ​couple of ​hours.”

If a ​supply of something ​sells out, there is no more of that thing to ​buy:

“The first ​issue of the ​magazine ​sold out within two ​days.”

[passive] When a ​film, ​concert, etc. is ​sold out, all of the ​tickets for it have been ​sold:

“We couldn’t get ​seats – the ​concert was ​sold out.”


Saffron   /ˈsӕfrən/  



Harvest  /ˈhɑː(r)vɪst/   N

the activity of collecting a crop

the corn/potato/grape harvest


water down something / water something down

to make something weaker

“Some people say the new regulations water down several laws that protect people who rent apartments in the city.”

“ Once the bill is introduced, he’s worried that lawmakers will water it down.”


Host  /həʊst/

to ​provide the ​space and other things ​necessary for a ​special ​event:

“Which ​country is hosting the next ​Olympic Games?”


Monument      uk   /ˈmɒn.jʊ.mənt/  us   /ˈmɑːn-/

a place of historical importance, for example an old building

“ancient/historic monuments”


Unesco World Heritage Sites

میراث جهانی یونسکو

 Varied   /ˈvɛːrɪd/   Adj

Incorporating a number of different types or elements; showing variation or variety:

The phenomena were very varied

a long and varied career”

“A shoe available in white, black, gray, tan and brown; varied color choices.”

Range   /reɪn(d)ʒ/  V

vary or extend between specified limits.

“prices range from £30 to £100”

synonyms: vary, fluctuate, differ;


desert  uk   /ˈdez.ət/  us   /-ɚt/

an ​area, often ​covered with ​sand or ​rocks, where there is very little ​rain and not many ​plants:

“They were ​lost in the desert for nine ​days.”


Terrain     uk   us   /təˈreɪn/   N

An area of land; ground:

“climbed a tree to view the surrounding terrain.”

 Locale    uk    /ləˈkɑːl/     us   /loʊˈkæl/    formal

an ​area or ​place, esp. one where something ​special ​happens:

“The film’s locale is Venice in the ​summer of 1957.”

 Resort    /rɪˈzɔːt/  us   /-ˈzɔːrt/   N

a ​place where many ​people go for ​rest, ​sport, or another ​stated ​purpose:

“a ​tourist resort”; “a holiday resort”; “a seaside/​beach resort”; “a ​ski resort”