Iran... getting worse?
Just thought I'd mention my experiences... bit of a moan perhaps.
Does anyone else who knows Iran feel that police suspicion and harassment is getting worse?
I've spent months in this country over the last two years, been pretty much everywhere with my car, but I seem to be the object of abject police suspicion. And it seems to be getting worse. I've had police throw everything out of my car in the middle of nowhere, waste hours of my time hanging round in small police stations all over , and I've even been stopped at gunpoint (i.e. AK47 pointed at my face) by PLAIN CLOTHED police in the middle of the desert.
I realise that Iran has major security and smuggling problems around it's borders, but the police seem to view me as a spy / terrorist / smuggler or general troublemaker. Does anyone else feel this? One police officer between Nehbandan and Mashhad stopped me looking particularly pleased with himself. He showed me a small lorry full of old kitchen appliances, which were full of heroin packets. Using his detective skills, he spent about an hour looking for opium in my car, paying particular attention to my gas cooker, though his colleague spent most of the time looking through the system files on my laptop's hard drive.
Maybe it's my car - a dirty Hilux. Pickups are the vehicle of choice for lawbreakers across the country - from the Baluchis with their Toyota Stout's piled high with diesel, to Kurdish smugglers with Land Cruiser Pickups filled with Iraqi cigarettes and DVD players. And that's not to mention too many damn photos of Hiluxes in FATA and Afghanistan on the bloody BBC...
As quite a separate issue, does anyone feel that crime is seriously escalating in this country? Six years ago, when I first visited, I would have found it virtually unfeasible to have been robbed. In the last year, it seems about half the travellers (or more) I've met who've been to Iran, ahve been robbed. A (British) mate of mine had his F650 pinched!