Ten Reasons Why Iranians are the Kindest People in the World (to Foreigners)

iranian women

Source: Rocket News 24

Iran has always fascinated me. A rich history inherited from one of the world’s oldest civilizations, cities filled with beautiful Islamic architecture, delicious cuisine—and the people!

Okay, while my acquaintanceship with Iranians has been limited to a few Persian friends back home in America, they’ve always been some of my favorite people, which is why it’s a shame our respective countries just can’t seem to get along.

Japan, on the other hand, has maintained a favorable relationship with Iran over the years and travel to the country is perceived to be easier for the Japanese than it is for Westerns. Our own globetrotting Japanese corespondent Photographer Koach recently wrote to us about his recent travels in the country, in which he affirms my positive impression of the people with a list of ten reasons why Iranians are the kindest people in the world.

Upon arriving in Iran, every Japanese backpacker I spoke with told me that the people here are incredibly welcoming and that the country is very easy to travel. One person looked at me with a dead-serious expression and said: “Iranians are halfway made of kindness.”

During my stay in the country, I soon came to realize what everyone was talking about. Below is a list of ten things I encountered that I believe attest to the kindness of Iranians.

1. About 30 people a day would approach me on the street and ask “Is there anything I can help you with?” or “Welcome to Iran!”

2. About three time a day, complete strangers would ask me where my hotel was and invite me to stay with them. I ended up taking one person up on the offer once. Talk about budget travel!

3. When caught wandering along the street while looking at a map, people would take up to 30 minutes of their own time showing me the way to my destination.

4. Like Japan, it is common courtesy in Iran to give up your seat on the subway when an elderly person gets on. What surprised me is that many Iranians would give up their seat for me because I was a tourist. When I tried to tell them I was fine standing, they would reply: “You’re a tourist, right? Thank you for coming to Iran! Let me express my gratitude! Please, sit down!”

5. While visiting the Naqsh-e Jahan Square World Heritage Site in Esfahan, more than 20 people offered to have tea or lunch together, some with their families!

6. People would frequently come up to me and ask to take a picture together.

7. People would treat me to tea or a meal for no apparent reason. Whenever I tried to pay they decline to take my money.

8. Most stores don’t try to rip off tourists.

9. Foreign tourists are instant celebrities. Whenever I was in a tourist spot, I would be surrounded by Iranians asking me to take pictures with them or exchange contact information.

10. Nearly everyone you make eye contact with on the street smiles at you and says “Hello!” in English.

I’ve visited over 40 countries in my travels, and nowhere have I encountered a people kinder than the Iranians. Never did I feel like they were trying to flatter me; their actions and words always seemed sincere.

And while some of the ten points above may seem to reflect a simple curiosity towards strangers rather than “kindness,” I constantly felt welcomed by the people of the country, which is more than a tourist could ever ask for.

This article first appeared on the English-Japanese language news publication Rocket News 24 in September 2012.

  • Derek Johnstone Macrae

    outstanding, Iranians, you do your country proud !

  • Shirdel2142

    Nice observation,i’m glad you enjoyed you’r stay,you shall be welcomed always.

  • VincentVanZimmerman

    I took a vacation to Iran last September. I am an American and have traveled all over the world. I have not met nicer people than the Iranians. My guide and I could just sit down and talk with anyone, anywhere and when he told them I was American, they were very excited that I would be visiting their county.

    95% of what you hear about Iran in the American mainstream media is propaganda.

    • Vincent

      Movies like “Argo” don’t help in the slightest. Gawd, I hated how our Jew Hollywood portrayed Iranians so negatively in that movie. It’s the EXACT OPPOSITE in real life.

      I visited in 2011 and absolutely fell in love with their kindness and openness. Returning to the USA by comparison was an absolute downer because everyone became so indifferent again, and all the pleasantries were insincere because you knew they were just trying to sell you something.

  • Grim Fandango

    it’s a shame our respective countries just can’t seem to get along

    The blame lies squarely on Israel, and their refusal to get along with their neighbors. Any and all neighbors, ever. Facts are facts.

    Israel controls our foreign policy because Israel has the real say on which US politicians get the massive campaign funding required to run for any high office. Any hopefuls that don’t prostrate themselves before AIPAC and swear eternal allegiance to the defense of Israel will have that funding funneled to their opponents.

  • Phantomflinger

    Not just that, a father of a family would rather cut his arm off than let someone go hungry or without shelter, even if it mean’t he would go without and to offer to pay is seen as an insult by many.

  • Jocanda

    I’ve met many Iranians in my lifetime, and have had several who were my friends. They were always among my favorite people. As a Venezuelan-American, it’s the same if you go visit Venezuela. There the people would always make you feel welcome. It’s not the people having the problems getting along, it’s the governments and those in power.

  • Abigail Beecher

    I agree. I’ve met about a half dozen Iranians over the years and all were outstandingly nice, friendly. polite, caring people. Now the Israelis I’ve met, most were closer to the exact opposite.

  • davol

    Don’t be fooled by this Iranians are nice people propaganda. We all know that they will stab you in the back the first chance they get and Iranians all harbor on a national scale nefarious plans for world domination. Plus they have said they want Israel wiped off the face of the Earth. That’s right totally ‘wiped off the face of the Earth.’ It’s true. They all said that. Look it up.

  • farang

    Iranians emerged from the fog of the ancient world from the region of northern India called “Aria.” They migrated into the Zagros Mountains, then emerged with farming implements called PLOUGHS used to “Aerate” the soil. You will see that PLOUGH on the FIRST Egypt dynasty walls and art, down through the last pharaoh.

    They first migrated into the land later known as “Mittani” and “Hatti” teaching them how to plant RICE.

    They were the Aryans. Iran means the land of Aryans. Their symbol, found throughout the ancient world, was the Swastika. It signified the Pole Star “spinning” on top of the world…used for Navigation purposes.

    ARYAN is YOUR NATIVE TONGUE. “Semite” language BORROWED @ 50% of their language. English is Aryan, as is Latvian and Welsh. So is Greek and Bulgarian. Thai and Burmese speak an Aryan tongue.

    A few weeks ago, msm articles in archaeology regarding DNA migration PROVED the “theory” that these people developed AGRICULTURAL METHODS (Irrigation/Aeration) then spread them west into Europe @ 9000 years ago. ARYANS spreading MODERN AGRICULTURAL METHODS. These people originated in southern Africa @ 70,000-130,000 years ago, migrating up the east coat of Africa into the Arabian Penisnsula and southern India. Then up into Anatolia and the M.E., mixing somewhat with the native Neandertals.

    Real science, real history.

    Not some myth of an invisible god giving wandering tribes of vagabond parasites another people’s land.

  • Name

    “95% of what you hear about Iran in the American mainstream media is propaganda.”………….. Yes, your country is responsible for almost everything which is wrong with the world today. You start 81% of all wars/conflicts since 1945 and are responsible for around 30 million deaths, 90% of which are children and adult civilians and every single one of those conflicts was/is based on lies!! Look it up. When are you going to stop terrorising the Earth? Are you not ashamed?

  • Fraga123


  • James

    Iceland and Iran are about the only two countries I have any interest in visiting someday.

  • jo

    I have not been to Iran yet but I have, too, heard many positive opinions about Iranians :)