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And a plea

And a plea Posted on February 1, 20125 Comments

This is Sina.

Johannes and I met him in the street in Tabriz and, as so often happens in Iran, within minutes Johannes had been invited to stay with his family (I already had a host for the night).

Sina is also a keen cyclist, and was very excited to meet us because, in a couple of months’ time, he’s planning a trip of his own. He wants to ride all the way from Tabriz to London, in time for the Olympics, and he plans to carry a Persian carpet that his family are making, which will depict the Olympic rings, alongside the flags of Britain and Iran. It’s a peace offering, he told us, from the people of Iran to the people of Britain – because, as many Iranians have since reiterated, people and governments are very different things, and no matter how far diplomatic relations deteriorate, the people of Iran will always be warm, hospitable, and eager to be friends with their brothers and sisters across the world.

Sina is very serious about his trip. He’s been training and saving for months, and his mother is already crazily worried about him (I should put her in touch with mine). The only thing that’s standing in his way is the current near-impossibility of an Iranian acquiring a UK visa, and I promised that I’d see if I could help. But there’s not very much I can do from here. So I’m opening this one to the audience. Are you in the UK? Can you help Sina, or do you know anyone who might?

His email address is, or you can get in touch with me via the contact form on this site.

Thank you.


  1. Not in the UK, but, would just like to wish Sina all the best for his plans. I think it’s a lovely idea and I hope he has a wonderful adventure. (P.S. Hope it’s a small Persian carpet!)

  2. I’ve been staying up half the night reading your blog, Emily. It’s gripping stuff and beautifully written!

    I haven’t got a clue what sort of help I can offer Sina, but I’m prepared to give it a go.

  3. Hi Emily
    I have enjoyed reading your blog very much. I read the piece about Sina and looked on the FCO website It seems that the only way he can do it is by going in person to either Turkey or the UAE.

    Iranian nationals, who normally live in Iran, may submit applications for all visa categories at the following visa application centres in the UAE and Turkey:
    United Arab Emirates – Dubai and Abu Dhabi
    Turkey – Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa and Gaziantep
    All applications must be submitted online and attendance at the visa application centres is by pre-booked online appointment only. It is mandatory for visa applicants in Turkey to pay for their applications online.

    I hope it works out for him. Good luck with the rest of your journey through Iran

  4. Moin Khan – ADifferentAgenda

    “Pakistan cycling federation is holding a reception for Emily Chappell who is going around the world on her bicycle.. Started from Wales on 1st September and entering Lahore tomorrow the 20th of February. All of you are invited to the Velodrome opposite Gaddafi Stadium Ferozepur Road at 4pm.. Lets show her some Lahori love!!”.
    This is from the facebook of Moin Kahn-the biker she has met in Turkey.Lahore is a town in est Pakistan
    Glad to her that she is ok and she has travelled such a long distance.
    Vezi traducerea

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