My mother and I were booked to do the Dragoman 'Silk Route Overland through Turkey, Iran & Turkmenistan' tour, starting on 27th June, 2013. We chose Dragoman (despite the bad review they have on Tripadvisor) because we wanted to go to Iran and it also going via Turkmenistan was a great bonus.
On the 19th Feb, Dragoman emailed me saying that the trip is being "improved", by which they meant it is no longer going via Iran.
The email said that the change "directly follows changes made to the to the [sic] British FCO advice for Iran and is written as ‘We advise against travel to Iran. British nationals have been arbitrarily detained in Iran in 2010 and 2011 and we now judge that the risk of this occurring again in the current circumstances following the imposition of the further EU sanctions on Iran, is significant.'"
It referred me to the FCO website but this said that the "advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Entry Requirements section (Yellow Fever). [However] The overall level of the advice has not changed."
The British nationals were detained in 2010 and 2011. The EU sanctions have been in place since July 2012. The virtually unchanged ‘advice against all travel to Iran’ warning would have been in place before I booked my trip in November 2012.
Dragoman has ignored my emails asking for the real reason the tour was changed.
They initially said I wasn’t even due a refund for the cost of the tour.
While I fully accept that I'm responsible for organising my own flights to/from the start/end locations of the tour but they also refused to pay the cost for me to change my flights after I found another (and better) tour operator.
They have also refused to give any compensation for no longer being able to use my (non-refundable) flight from Turkmenistan.
At least, an apology from Dragoman would have been nice. Instead, they have been a nightmare to deal with and what was meant to be a great holiday with my mother (her 60th Birthday gift) it has become a huge stress and incredibly expensive. Booking was a mistake so, please, don’t do the same...