Have you ever mailed a book to someone in Iran?

An Iranian in my on-line book group is asking for books to be sent to him.

I looked at the USPS website. They don’t allow “Books, newspapers, printed matter, writing, records, pictures, emblems and any other articles of a seditious or immoral nature or contrary to religion or accepted customs” to be sent to Iran.

Should I assume that any packages sent to Iran will be inspected, here and/or there? Would the recipient get in trouble for receiving a book that isn’t subversive by US standards but might be by Iranian standards?

Do Iranians have reasonably free internet access? Can they get to Gutenberg? Can they download via audible.com? I’d like to help this person but I’m not sure what I can do.

Seems to me you ought to ask your Iranian online friend these questions–he’d be in a much better position to give you more accurate information that we can, not least because there’s The World According To Google And The USPS Website, and then there’s the Real World. So ask him what you can send him that won’t be confiscated at the border.

And if he’s already online, why don’t you just send him a link to Gutenberg et al?

That makes sense. Thanks. :slight_smile:

He’s not my friend yet. He just joined the group and his first message was a plea for books, saying he can’t get the books he wants in Iran. I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t have any money or because he wants books that aren’t allowed.

I looked at Amazon’s international shipping info, and Iran isn’t on the list of Middle East countries that they’ll ship to. I’ll suggest Gutenberg to him.

i’ve sent books to troops. you do have to be careful. no exposed limbs on the covers, nothing suggestive, nothing overtly religious.

stickers are very helpful.

I’ve sent books to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, without restriction, since they go to APO and FPO addresses – US mail, basically – just like sending it to someone in the States.

I’m thinking a private address in Iran is gonna be different.

Try pasting a plain brown paper cover to the front of the book.

Inspectors get lazy, too.

I think that is a terrible idea. If and when it’s discovered (and don’t you think the inspectors will find a plain brown paper cover suspicious?), they will go through the package with a fine-tooth comb and then go on to make life for your friend hell, on the assumption that he’s some sort of spy.

Send him also…



Which have the advantage that you don’t have to download anything–you can just sit there at your computer and read.

You don’t say what you are sending exactly, but I have sent letters to Iran without trouble and while I don’t know if they were opened, I can tell you that every single letter I have received from Iran has been opened and resealed. I assume this was done by both the US and Iranian governments.

Theft should not generally be a problem in that part of the world, but when I lived in Georgia (the country, not the US state), there was no way any package could get into the country by post without being examined and having things stol… err confiscated.

I think the OP is about a non-military, non-USA, actual Iranian, not an American who happens to be over there.

This might be a silly question but are you sure you’re not going run up against US export laws?

I don’t think so, not for a book or two being sent by one individual to another, no money changing hands.

I’ll send him the links for on-line reading.

Thanks, everybody! :slight_smile:

You should not send anything that could considered anti-Islamic in any way. Nothing Jewish should be on the book (no Star of David.) Nothing pornographic and remember that in Iran almost any image of a non-covered woman could be considered to be porn. Anything political could be a hot potato as well. Avoid anything that looks pro-American and even more so, pro-Israel.

That might be a problem. The guy wrote again, and he’s particularly interested in “romance” novels. :smiley:

Does he mean bodice-rippers, or genuine soft-core porn, or Barbara Cartland?
ETA: I don’t wanna sound harsh or judgemental, but if this guy wants you to put both of you in potential danger from various security forces on both sides of the border, I’d like to think it would be for something more culturally significant and meaningful than Mandingo. He doesn’t need air-quotes “Romance novels” bad enough for you to exert yourself to find a way to send them to him. Pride and Prejudice or Shakespeare, yes. Kathleen Woodiwiss, no.

I totally agree. I’m already a bit skittish about it, because he’s made no offer to pay for books or reimburse for shipping. There are a lot of generous people in this book group, but I hate to see people taken advantage of.

How sure are you that he’s really an Iranian from Iran, and not some American teenager pulling your collective chains at the tail-end of a long boring summer vacation?

That’s possible.

A member who used to live in Iran is asking him some polite but probing questions. Chances are, we’ll never hear from him again.