I am an Italian Ph. D. candidate in Linguistics and I am in my penultimate year. My research focuses on nominal structure in Southern Italian Dialects, Balkan and Indo-Iranian languages.

I would love to work on a post-doc in Iran. Does anyone have experience on doing one in Iran? Would it be considered valuable experience? I am afraid of stereotypes in general, even though here in Italy the situation is different from the United States and we have an overall positive consideration of Iran.

I've already traveled to Iran for long periods and I am about to go back this summer, so there is no questioning that I like the place, and that it would be good experience for my knowledge on the Indo-Iranian family.

Apart from these questions, does anybody know about how the hiring process for post-docs works in Iran? I have made many searches, but most universities do not have a page for job offers.

Very long question. For now, thanks everyone for listening. -)


2 Answers 2


I would not suggest to anyone, unless it is the only possible option.

First thing, I think it would be hard for a western to live in Iran, considering the human rights violations of the regime, not having freedom of speech, restraints on women, homosexuals and alcohol and many others. Before seriously considering such a move, I would try to contact some westerners in the institution you're considering and asking about their experience.

Second thing, most of the universities in Iran are public and as you're considering a job, rather than just a research visit or a conference visit, it means you're being employed by the Islamic republic. This is a big difference. This sole thing, may get interpreted as you being supportive of the regime and its actions, and can jeopardize future positions in the academia (US/UK/Israel for sure, and probably some other allies like Canada or Australia), and may lead to some visa issues/questioning in the future. It is true that there are many Iranians in the west, and Sharif University is a great university for undergraduate studies whose graduates continue moving to get education in the best US institutions, but those are Iranians, not people who had a lot of options where to do undergraduate studies and most of them fled the country without looking back the minute they can. It might also disqualify you in the future to work in some work that might require clearance (if you consider doing state-department/security related stuff in the future, as you have extensive language knowledge).

You've mentioned that you studied Indo-Iranian languages, so why not look at some better places? India? Azerbaijan? If you know some Arabic, there are all those branches of fancy US institutes in the Emirates and Saudi-Arabia? Maybe those have departments about Indo-Iranian languages as well? (my first point applies there as well, but my second point is not very relevant).

P.S. I'm pretty sure that even in Europe, the general consensus about Iran would be mostly neutral to (some) negative, most definitely I would not describe it as positive.

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    this is absolutely NOT true, I am not sure why so many upvotes.
    – SSimon
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 14:33

While I somewhat agree with some of the views expressed in the other answer by Persian_in_the_USA, I have some opposing views to discuss. I will answer your question based on my experience with fellow peers doing postdocs (Computer Science) in Iran and I will also assume you are looking for a temporary appointment as a post-doc and not a long-term career in Iran.

First of all, regarding the social and cultural differences, it's up to you to decide how much it actually affects/bothers you. Reiterating the assumption of a short-term employment, you have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How hard is it to live for 2 years without alcohol or pork?

  • Do you need to wear a hijab (are you a woman)? and if so, how much will it bother you to continue wearing one in public for the duration of your stay?

  • Will the legal situation regarding homosexuals affect you personally?
  • Will the deficiency of freedom of speech, especially in political matters, affect you personally or professionally?

Secondly, although most prominent universities in Iran are public, equating a research role in a public university to "working for the regime" is quite a stretch, if not completely absurd. The difference between working in Linguistics at a university and working on governmental and/or military departments are quite clear, especially when you consider that almost all prominent universities in Iran are public.

I agree that this occupation might cause some questioning regarding Visa issues later on, but if you had a concrete and professional reason for your stay, I doubt it will prevent you from entering/working in western countries (keep in mind that many people who were born and raised in Iran untill their adulthood are now living and working in western countries without a problem).

Regarding the last part of your question on how to find such research positions in Iran, I believe the most promising approach would be to contact senior faculty members at the universities you are targeting. Such positions in Iran are not as common as in places like the US, which is why your are having no luck on official university websites.

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    Just a data point, but a former colleague has married an Iranian lady, and he works for the American embassy. He's German. Commented May 3, 2018 at 19:05
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    Tehran University of Medicine have online application for postdocs.
    – SSimon
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 14:35

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