EghtesadOnline: Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Ali Asghar Mounesan said he will visit Russia by the end of the current Iranian month (Sept. 20) in order to carry out final negotiations on Iran-Russia visa waiver deal.
The first phase of the visa waiver plan, calling for mutual relaxation of visa procedures for people active in trade, science and tourism sectors, went into effect in February 2016, ISNA reported.
Setting the stage for waiving visa requirements for group tours was the second phase of the plan, signed by the consular officials of the two countries, but has yet to take effect.
Implementing total visa-free travel is the third and final phase of the scheme. Mounesan was intent on finalizing the MoU on the implementation of the deal by March 2020, only to be met by the outbreak of coronavirus. Now he is planning to travel to the neighboring country to finalize the deal.
“Some countries have resumed the inflow of foreign tourist; we are also ready to accept tourists in accordance with health and safety guidelines,” he told the Tourism Policymaking Council of the Private Sector on Tuesday.
Last month, Hassan Nourian, the head of Passport and Visa Department of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, announced that tourist and pilgrimage visas are not being issued by his department.
“Given the Covid-19 pandemic and recommendations of the World Health Organization on refraining from unnecessary travel, the options of tourist and pilgrimage visas have been deactivated on the list of Iran’s electronic visa system. Once conditions normalize, these options will be reactivated,” he said.