We are an American couple trying to go on our second visit to Iran. The guide on our first visit was excellent, and we e-mailed uppersia.com for her to be our guide again. We had run across this also in 2008 prior to the first visit. We understand that Americans need guides. The question is: Is it possible for the Americans to have a tour guide without a driver - ie, on public busses, trains, and taxis?
The American visitors of Iran should take part in a tour and be accompanied by a tour guide to travel in Iran, but using the public transportations such as bus, train, and taxi makes no problem.
The visa reference number for the Americans takes about 30-45 days to be secured from the MFA. In the visa application form the MFA should be informed about the hotels and itinerary in Iran. After having the reference number, the visa can be collected in two working days by direct referral or in one working week by posting the docs to the Iran embassy.