Inside Iran – Princely Persia has history and hospitality in equal abundance

“You have to know something,” a tall, lively Iranian told me. He has an intense expression and his prickly index finger is almost on my chest. “We are not terrorists,” he said. He runs his pointed hand over his heart. “We love your nation. We love all nations. The Iranian people love all the people of the world.

I’m in the middle of a conversation with the amiable Afshin in the pink shirt. We are in a corner of Imam Square in the city of Isfahan, in central Iran. As I find out, Iranians want to change the way their country is viewed and are fascinated by what you think about it. (“Do you like Iran?” Afshin asks me later.)

For a visitor, the most striking quality of the Iranian people is their hospitality. Random Iranians – in big cities – often say, “Hello. How are you? ”Start chatting with you and welcome you to their country. Tourists are such a novelty that foreigners often ask if they can have a photo with you. It gives Iran travel a surreal quality , Justin Bieberesque.

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