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Iran eliminates visa requirements for 33 nations, including Gulf states Iran
Iran's capital city, Tehran | Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Hosein Charbaghi

Iran eliminates visa requirements for 33 nations, including Gulf states

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 14 Dec 2023, 11:55 pm

Dubai: Iran announced that it was eliminating the need for visas for 33 nations, including Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia, with which Tehran had tense relations for many years before a recent reconciliation.

"The ministry of tourism believes that an open-door policy will showcase Iran's determination to engage with different countries of the world," reported Reuters, citing the semi-official ISNA.

The number of countries or territories whose citizens can visit Iran without a visa will climb to 45, the report said.

Following the years of tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two oil-producing countries, this step will bridge the relations between these Gulf rivals, the report said.

In the past decade, Riyadh and Tehran have sided with warring parties in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

Attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, which the West accuses Iran and its Arab proxy forces of carrying out, have threatened to plunge the Middle East into further conflict.

Iran has denied any role in those attacks.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore full diplomatic relations, severed in 2016, under a Chinese-mediated agreement in March.

In addition to Bahrain, with which Tehran has not yet fully restored ties, citizens of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are also exempt from the need for a visa.

One country on the list that was allied with the West was Croatia, a tiny member of the European Union and NATO; other countries on the list were Lebanon, Tunisia, India, and various Central Asian, African, and "Muslim" nations, the report said.

"Russians will only profit from this visa exemption if they are visiting the country in groups," Reuters said, citing ISNA.

Omani nationals had been able to travel to Iran visa-free prior to this announcement.

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