Iran Security Update
we are heading RTW starting day after xmas out of Singapore and have been monitoring situation in PK, IR and TR. I subscribe to a sercurity alert service and received this update which should be of interest to those traveling through Zahedan, Kerman, and the southeastern provinces of Iran:
14 Dec 2007
>CLASHES IN SOUTH-EASTERN PROVINCE REFLECT CONTINUED RISK POSED BY SUNNI MILITANT ACTIVITY
Police officers killed several suspected members of the Baluchi Sunni militant group Jundallah on 12 December in a gun battle near the town of Iranshahr (around 320 miles (515km) south-east of the capital Tehran) in Sistan-e Baluchistan province. They also made a number of arrests.
Jundallah has capitalised on a rise in Sunni Islamist militancy in the border region with Pakistan and the government’s limited authority in the south-east to carry out attacks on government and security officials and facilities (possibly with foreign support), but has not targeted foreign businesses to date. Control Risks advises that business travel to the south-east can continue. However, personnel should avoid the border city of Zabol (around 620 miles (990km) south-east of Tehran) and outlying areas of Sistan-e Baluchistan; exercise vigilance in the provincial capital Zahedan (around 480 miles (770km) south-east of Tehran); and avoid travel after dark in all areas of Sistan-e Baluchistan and neighbouring Kerman province. Personnel are also advised to follow travel management procedures and use secure accommodation. Businesses should incorporate the possibility of an intensified campaign by Jundallah that constitutes an incidental risk to their employees into their crisis management and business continuity plans.
Provincial police chief Gen Mohammad Ghaffari said that the militants were members of Jundallah and that arms, explosives, communication equipment and documents have been seized. Local media reports varied as to the exact number of those killed and arrested, with some placing the number of dead at 12 and others only four.
The predominantly Sunni Muslim Baluchis, who have their own language, form only 2% of Iran’s mainly Shia Muslim and Persian-speaking population but predominate in Sistan-e Baluchistan. The government’s limited authority in the south-east has been exacerbated by the region’s underdevelopment, its distance from the centre of power, the activities of Sunni and Baluchi ethnic groups and tribal resentment of the central government. These factors have also fuelled the development of smuggling and drug-trafficking activities. Jundallah originated in response to the killing by the security forces of relatives of many of the group’s current leaders, and most of its supporters do not seek a separate Baluchi state. Instead, they seek greater government patronage and improved treatment for ethnic Baluchis.
I read this as a non-issue for travellers. Trouble has been brewing in this region for some time. In any case, most travellers are escorted from somewhere between Bam and Zahedan to the border, although I managed to avoid most of those pesky escorts myself.
Guess I am a coward then as I took notice of this (and similar messages from the hotel managers in Kerman, plus a sucide bomber in Quetta) to avoid Pakistan and head of to Dubai!
Enjoy PK if you do go that way!!
you are no coward, each traveller has to make up his own mind
which road to travel. Its up to each man or woman to make their own choice
remember this is your adventure, not mine, not who ever is reading your blog
or this post it is your's. Each time you take a decision its you balls on
the line, in south america a few years back i turned back on a mountain pass
because me front wheel was clogging with mud every 30metres or so
its was just too draining to go any more.
it was the only road i turned back on, but you see as i rode back down
the pass, i reached a small village, and believe this or not, i ran into Nick Plumbe
paris dakar hero who was making a tv advert for hsbc at the time, believe me
this was the arse hole of no where. to meet Nick like this made up for the
So God only knows which way your road will take you but its all yours mate
no one else's.
have a great christmas
a freind of my was there 2 months ago en he said, Prefect contry.
Only problem is spare parts for your bike....
Futher the people is very modern, pro Europe, USA......!
Travelmaniacs - Update Meindert Baars: *Vakantieland Iran*
Drivven there with a KTM 660 Rally hes now in Japan.....
great people all the way, i was replying to karter257 post.
BTW, Baluchistan itself is one of the most lawless of all regions it would seem, if you read into a history of reporting about that part of PK (or is it in India, can't quite remember?!!)
ps The further you get away from Paris, the more the French nationals want their independence - same goes for Madrid (and check out the UK!). It's a human thing I guess.
this post was not meant to scare. Anyone who has studied the region and the situation will understand the context of this information and use it accordingly. I will be riding there in 3 months so and, if I were there now, I would consider the information useful in choosing my route and timing. I work for a global energy concern and spend most of my time to traveling to the world's less secure spots and the information provided by this service has always provided much value.
Yea we drove from Yazd to Quetta a few months ago. At the time we also got a bit worried about all the scare stories on the internet, but it was fine. The Iranian border guards were a bit awkward, but the Pakistan side was great and the head of customs even invited us for a cool glass of coke. To be honest the people of Balocastan are the friendliest we have met anywhere in the world.
A few things to look out for. We found that fuel is obtained out of jerry cans sold by the side of the road, this is the case from Zehadan nearly to Quetta. Secondly we broke up the drive to Quetta by stopping off at Dalbandin (about half way) if the local hotel is closed find a police officer, let them know that you need somewhere to stay and they will probably invite you to stay in the police station (great experience). They do say Quetta is dangerous but when we were there the worst thing we encountered was the large number of beggars.
Hope this sets your mind at rest, the drive is certainly worth doing, there are some great views and nice people to meet.
we were very concerned about the Zahedan to Quetta drive- mainly due to stories from other overlanders. Turned out to be one of the best driving experiences of the trip up to that point!
It is a personal decision as to what you decide and the situation can change on an almost daily basis- however- we were of the opinion that we were more likely to be victims of terrorism on a flight to the USA or a bus in central London!
Whatever you do a lot of it is down to luck on the day. PS pakistan is not issuing visa's to overlanders at the minute.
dave and rose
Security Warnings and Updates
I have learnt my lesson posting here advice regarding travel to potentially hazardous areas & countries - Don't bother because you are putting yourself in the "line of fire" from all those "macho hard men" adventurers out there that prefer to totally ignore government security advice! - you know the kind of thing... "What a load of rubbish, I have just passed through that area and it was fine, nice people too"...
I wonder how many travellers have "met their maker" after ignoring this this kind of helpful advice - hundreds of em I bet.
and how many people have gone nowhere, scared by the FCO stream of recommendations to go nowhere because you 'might' come across the 'potential' for danger. FCO advice is practically useless, if you are there you'll know yourself how dangerous it is. You'll know much more than a desk-jockey in an embassy.
I don't think it's got much to do with macho attitudes, more like accepting the consequences of your own actions. If you choose to live by government recommendations then do that, but it's not the only way to live.
Do I stay or do I go now?
There is a burgening industry in handing out advice of the type that started this thread - as I mentioned in my last post, it has a limited life span.
So, where have all these fatalities occurred?
Well, we had the case on 26th Dec of the 4 French tourists in Mauritania: I don't know, but as a non-betting man, I wouldn't mind betting that the French Govn issued an advisory after the event, as per the cancellation of the Dakar Rally.
Maybe a French national can advise on this?
Ultimately, you pay your money and you make your choice.
I'm afraid to say there are LOTS of people who come to harm in various places without the media ever knowing about it. Govts won't release the information because of privacy laws. The "desk jockeys" in embassies actually do know considerably more than the traveller. There is no doubt travel advisories tend to over-emphasise the risks - but they don't contrive them. If an advisory says a place is potentially dangerous then it is. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go there - but surely being aware of potential trouble is sensible, and forewarns that you might need to modify your behaviour. While the advisories need to account for the loud obvious tourist and hence seem to do little but spell out all the negatives, this doesn't mean they are useless as a general guide and a useful reference.
I live on a compound where I pass through three guard posts to get to my villa where I have lived for four years without any problems. The security state is at amber as it has been for seven years and the embassy issues regular messages on the continuing threat of terrorism.
The area I am in has had a bombing, several shootings and an attack on a compound so the message is, it can happen if you are unlucky.
You can face the same danger in the UK or USA etc etc.
Avoid large gatherings and keep a low profile.
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