In a diplomatic move, Iran has decided to lift visa requirements for citizens of 33 countries, fostering greater engagement with nations across the globe. This includes Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, marking a significant development in Iran’s efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties.
The Iranian Ministry of Tourism views the visa waiver as a demonstration of Iran’s commitment to global engagement, showcasing an open-door policy to facilitate easier travel for visitors from various parts of the world.
Expansion of Visa-Free Access:
With this decision, the number of countries or territories whose citizens can visit Iran without obtaining a visa will increase to 45, reflecting Iran’s determination to enhance international relations through simplified entry procedures.
Thawing Relations with Saudi Arabia:
This move is seen as a step towards thawing relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, especially after the recent restoration of full diplomatic relations, which were severed in 2016 under a Chinese-mediated agreement in March.
Notably, citizens from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain benefit from the visa waiver, showcasing a willingness to engage in diplomatic and tourism exchanges even with nations where ties are still in full restoration.
Comprehensive List of Beneficiary Countries:
The list of countries benefiting from visa-free entry includes Lebanon, Tunisia, India, and various Central Asian, African, and Muslim nations. Croatia, a Western-allied European nation, is the sole representative from that region included in the list.
While Russians are mentioned in the list, ISNA notes that their visa exemption is conditional on group visits to the country.
Omani Nationals and Iranian Pilgrims:
Omani nationals, who previously enjoyed visa-free travel to Iran, continue to be included in this arrangement.
Additionally, Iranian media reports suggest that from December 19, Iranian pilgrims will resume regular travel to Saudi Arabia for the first time in eight years, signifying a significant development in bilateral relations.
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