January 17, 2018

5 Facts About Iran That Will Probably Surprise You


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Iran gets a lot of negative press here in the West. But, as with many situations in life, things aren’t always what they seem. Here are five facts about Iran that might surprise you.

They accept gender reassignment

Middle Eastern attitudes to homosexuality are well-known. We – rightly – condemn the beatings, stonings and oppressive regime that occur. Things in Iran are changing, of course – but there is a long road ahead for anything like equality or even genuine recognition. However, when it comes to gender reassignment, the Iranians are probably more accepting than we are. The Iranian government subsidizes up to 50 percent of the sex change operation and are happy to hand out new birth certificates, too.


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Woman have more rights than other Middle Eastern countries

Another stone we like to fling at Islamic countries is the way they treat women. However, in comparison to other nations in the region, Iran is a lot more forward thinking. Women can drive, vote, and travel alone, for example. They can also serve in parliament, and go to university – although they are barred from taking particular courses. Given the amount of venom directed at Iran, it might be surprising. Especially when Saudi Arabia – the West’s biggest ally in the region – does not allow their women anywhere near the same rights. Again, there is a long way to go – but there are some high-ranking officials in Iran who are pushing for complete equality.


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They are embracing renewable energy

Oil has been an enormous part of the Iranian economy for decades. You would think, then, that they have no interest in developing alternatives to their major export. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Policymakers have shown lots of interest in renewables, due to an increase in electricity demand. Need more proof? Well, the Renewable Energy Conference is taking place there later on this year. It’s clear that their interest is developing nicely.

They don’t mind Westerners

We all remember the Iranian President’s description of the US as the ‘Great Satan’. But, those feelings don’t run all the way through the country. In fact, the average Iranian has an altogether more positive view of Americans and Westerners in general. In fact, after Israel, Iran is the most supportive country of the West in the entire region. Head over there and you might get a pleasant surprise. The people are friendly, interested and welcoming – could you say the same if an Iranian paid you a visit over here?


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They drink alcohol

There is an official ban on alcohol in Iran, of course. But, make no mistake about it, the threat of 80 lashes doesn’t stop the locals enjoying a glass or two of their favourite tipple. In fact, the number of people who drink more than 35 litres of alcohol a year is more than the UK, Germany, and the United States.

So, there you have it – some interesting facts about Iran that you might not know. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below – and feel free to leave any more interesting facts!  

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