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Middle East Topics specific to the Middle East countries, from Syria south to Yemen
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  #1  
Old 18 Jul 2008
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Middle east, a good idea?

Hi came back from a month long tour through Russia last month on a XR650R and am already itching to get out again, in the later half of next year l,m thinking of riding to Mongolia through Russia/Kazakhstan then back through Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan/Iran/Turkey to Europe then home to England on my R100GS.

What l,m wondering is with me being a British citizen is this going to put me at more of a risk than other nationality's? especially in Iran with me being a 21 year old former British soldier......
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Old 19 Jul 2008
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I don't think it will be a problem. If you can get the visa's you should be good. You do not have to tell anyone you were a soldier- tell 'em you work at the post office, nobody hates the mail man. If you find it being problematic telling people you are English, tell them you are from Suriname or someplace they couldn't possibly have a problem with. Not many people actually get to see your passport.

Shouldn't be a problem at all.
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Old 20 Jul 2008
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A goatee and a suntan go a long way. Try to not look obviously European.
Unfortunately, Tony Blair's legacy of Poodle-ism means that us Brits have to watch our step in some places.

Notwithstanding that, I've generally found the vast majority of Muslims to be generous, welcoming, curious and friendly around the Middle East.

I have had two incidents of hassle in six years of residency in the region, and they were not serious, more like local guys yelling at me after a particularly brutal act by the Americans in Iraq or Afghanistan (bombing a wedding party, killing kids, that kind of thing).

When asked as to nationality I often say I am Irish these days.

The main issue you may have in Iran is at the border and police. If they pick up on you being ex forces they may suspect you of spying. You may be discretely observed regardless.
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Old 21 Jul 2008
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I don't think you will have a problem with Iranian people. Some students asked when the US would finally invade to help them get rid of their regime...

Your biggest problem as a UK national might be getting a visa.
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Old 21 Jul 2008
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I don't think if you are ever going to have a problem unless they see/understand your friend is/was a former soldier.

Enjoy...
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Old 30 Jul 2008
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I've lived in this region for the last 8 years and I've always found Iranians to be lovely and really welcoming people.
I always think they are given a lot of trouble from fellow Arabs to be honest and vice versa. (I work in recruitment so see a lot of the racism that goes on here!)

Good Luck with the visas - I think this will be the main problem - I was previously a teacher and I know that this always went down a treat with border controls! They seemed to like this profession more than anything else.

Happy travelling
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Old 31 Aug 2008
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xr650r

Hey Tatters,

I have a xr650r that I am currently outfitting for some long distance touring in the SW USA. I'm intrigued by your recent trip though Russia with the same bike. Any equipment, upgrade details that you can spare would be greatlt appreciated. Did you have any mechanical/equipment issues? Thanks!
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Old 3 Sep 2008
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good advice all round. i just returned from Iran (I'm Canadian, but I met a Brit or two on the trip). Iranians are friendly and welcoming, generally. Avoid certain places (usually near borders with other countries) and have fun. It's not to say bad things don't happen to good people, but these things happen rarely.
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