moscow to tehran. i've been thinking a bit about this route, around ~1500-2000 miles. can't find much info about people doing it on the net. anyone done it or ridden around this part of the world (southern russia, northern iran, georgia). i'm an american, any visa issues with travel to iran?
yeah, i had read that, but I was a bit confused as the website said that you would have to get the visa through the pakistani embassy in washington. i guess i was kind of confused about this process. also, i was unsure of what to make of the state department warning. from what i've heard, the iranian people are incredibly hospitable and kind folks. i that's kind of why i want to go, see for myself what it's like.
I would suggest also checking on the Thorn Tree Lonely Planet web site if you can get across the border in Chechnya. Folks at expat.ru might also know, but that is less likely than Thorn Tree.
I haven't been in that part of Russia, but in 2006 we bicycled through Ukraine to Samara, Russia (www.bikerussia.com/2006). When we were registering our home stay visa in Penza, Russia there was some alarm when there was some confusion in the Russians thinking we had entered via Chechnya. So, at minimum this will be a sensitive area for the Russians (e.g. not one to put on your application for a Russian visa invitation) and there could be some possibility you might not be able to get through.
In any case, Thorn Tree is a good place to find others that may have crossed that southern Russian border and recommendations of where to cross. Not knowing anything else, I personally would also look into crossing by way of Georgia along the Black Sea to avoid the mess further west... but this is definitely something you want to research before you go.
What I find amusing is that I'd be more worried about riding around Russia than Iran.
Anyway, it looks like you cannot travel independently in Iran right now (if you're an American) -- booked tour or guide is required. Also, there's no consulate there, you probably can't get insurance, and the borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.