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The Situation on the Ground: Until recently, visiting Iran was an all but unrealizable

proposition for the average American. Chilly diplomatic relations (or the lack thereof)—including a trade embargo—and the aftermath of the 2011 demonstrations rendered Iran both inaccessible and relatively dangerous; Americans could get a visa to visit Iran, a lengthy and onerous process, only in the full-time company of a licensed tour operator or guide.But this year’s landmark nuclear deal between the United States and Iran has made Iran more accessible than ever for American travelers. While visa rules remain restrictive—expect to still travel with guides—the government is showing some signs of laxity: electronic visa filing is expected to come into effect this year for some countries, while the length of a typical tourist visa has been extended from 15 to 30 days. In the wake of its nuclear deal, Iran is publicizing a battery of infrastructure projects designed to boost tourism and foreign investment, including the arrival of branches of the Ibis and Novotel hotel chains in Iran.
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