Well, crazy or not, I have just learned that a handful of American hunters have been making their way to Iran. And - surprise, surprise! it is entirely legal for them to have been doing so. That's right no matter what you have heard about a US State Department travel ban, the door is open for Americans to go there. And, yes, the US Treasury Department tells me Americans can freely pay for living expenses and acquisitions of goods or services for personal use. Hunting costs are specifically covered in that allowance, I was told by an official in the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency in charge of administering US economic sanctions against Iran.
But hold the phone. That does not mean an American citizen can take a firearm to Iran or bring trophies home with him. In fact, both actions are expressly not allowed. Also, the US State Department does have a Travel Warning in effect for Iran (www.travel.state.gov), and that has some important effects, which are discussed in Dateline Africa elsewhere in this issue. The added wrinkle in Iran is, the United States does not have an embassy there to register with. In absolute terms, you are on your own as an American if you go to Iran.
So, why bother going to Iran? Well, if the reports we hear are accurate, Iran is an international hunter's paradise with numerous species of sheep, ibex, gazelles and even wild boar. Some of the available species can be hunted only in Iran. There are more than 100 wildlife reserves that were established by Prince Abdorreza, the former Shah's brother and a recognized conservationist and........(continued)