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Beyond the politics: The beauty of Iran in photos

February 28, 2016

Iran has dominated headlines in recents weeks, following the temporary seizure of two U.S. Navy boats and their crews, the lifting of economic sanctions against the country as part of its nuclear deal with the Unites States and the release in a prisoner exchange of five Americans including the Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian.

As these controversies are turned into talking points on the presidential campaign trail, it’s easy to forget the complexity within Iran. The country is large — only slightly smaller than Alaska — with a population of more than 75 million people spread out among several ethnic groups.

Despite growing attention from U.S. tourists — 3,276 visited in 2014, nearly doubling figures from the year before, it is not the easiest destination for Americans. There is an approval process for a visa, visitors must travel with a guide, and the U.S. State Department has issued numerous travel warnings.

But that’s no reason to ignore this deeply beautiful country.

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