Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Iran Plans to Attract 1-2mln Russian Tourists by Removing Visa Requirements

Iran plans to attract 1-2 million visitors by removing tourist visas for Russian nationals, Iranian Vice President and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Chief Masoud Soltanifar said Monday.

The official, whose agency has proposed a visa waiver program between Iran and Russia, said, as quoted by the local IRNA news agency, that in 2015 the number of Russian tourists in Iran was less than 50,000 people.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that an agreement between Russia and Iran to simplify visa procedures will come into effect on February 6.

An intergovernmental agreement was signed in Tehran on November 23, 2015 in the presence of the Russian and Iranian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, following Russian-Iranian talks.

“The document is aimed at simplifying on reciprocal basis conditions for the trips of the two countries’ nationals,” the ministry said, noting that it would relax visa rules for Russian and Iranian business people, people participating in scientific, cultural and creative activity, for students and teachers, tourists and other categories.

The agreement will help strengthen Russian-Iranian ties on all directions of partnership, the ministry said in its report.

In January, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei suggested that Tehran may unilaterally cancel tourist visas for Russian citizens.

Morteza Rahmani Movahed, the tourism deputy of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) told RIA Novosti the two countries could introduce a visa-free regime “within a week” if Russia agreed on a mutual political decision.

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