Thanks to its status, Tehran has become a magnet for expats who are drawn to its modern urban developments and growing economy.
Education is taken seriously in all of Iran, not just the capital, making the literacy rate higher than average for the region at around 85%. Mainstream schools begin with kindergarten through grade 12; high school is not mandatory but students wishing to enter higher education must have a high school diploma and pass the Iranian University Entrance Exam.
There are a number of bilingual and international schools for the children of expats living in Tehran, which offer excellent standards of education, have small class sizes, and superb facilities. These schools include:
Fees and enrolment procedures are different for each school, and the number of available spaces may be limited, so it pays to make inquiries as soon as you possibly can.
Although development of public transport is ongoing, the sheer size of Tehran's population has made it problematic, leading to the majority of people using their own vehicles — but this too requires careful planning. Tehran is divided into two discrete traffic zones: the first restricted zone bases itself on a vehicle's registration number and restricts access on certain days, and the second restricted zone can only be used by public transportation, such as taxis and buses, as well as emergency services.
There are vast numbers of taxis in Tehran but because of restricted zones, it is sometimes necessary to change taxis several times in order to reach a destination. Tehran also has wide lanes for buses. The latter are often used in place of trains to cover long distances, which has reduced the number running throughout the city. Having said that, the central train station in Tehran operates around the clock, and there are four bus terminals to be found in the city.
Iran has developed a reputation of being a potentially dangerous place, but much of this has grown from international wariness. The entire country is ruled by Sharia Law, including Tehran, so the general advice to any foreigners working and living in the city is to make sure that you abide by the law or the punishment could be hefty.
These rules include obeying the law over personal matters as well as more general ones. For example, same gender relationships are not acceptable at all in Tehran, and women are expected to behave and appear extremely conservative in public.