Iran’s amb.: Iran-Russia full abolition of visa regime still off agenda

MNA – Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow while noting the recent MoU between Iran and Russia for canceling visas for group tours, said no talks have yet been held on a full abolition of visa regime.On Nov. 28, Iran and Russia signed an agreement during the fifth session of the commission on consular cooperation which simplifies the visa regime for tour groups travelling between the two countries. The agreement which is still undergoing evaluations before being signed is expected to come into effect in 2017.

Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow, Mehdi Sanaei, while addressing a group of Iranian students in Moscow on the occasion of national Student Day which falls on December 6, said the agreement on easing visa issuance for specialized, commercial and professional sectors that was signed between Iran and Russia last year has been put into effect.

“The second part of the negotiations has led to the crafting of the abolition of visa for group tours,” Sanaei said, adding “secondary reviews and in-country coordination are still ongoing so that with a final confirmation, the draft will most likely be signed in no later than six months.”

According to Sanaei, under this agreement group tours of 5 to 50 people heading to Russia from Iran or vice versa will be granted a visa-free stay of up to 15 days.

“Russia has already had such an agreement with China which is currently underway,” Sanaei said. “The mutual implementation of the same agreement with Iran will be one of the greatest steps for increasing the volume of tourism and public relations between the two countries.”

Sanaei further stressed that so far no talks have been held on the full abolition of visas between the two countries, saying “perhaps after the finalization and signing of the group tour visa, we could put this issue on our agendas as well.”

He also noted the growth of tourism between Iran and Russia and the remarkable increase in direct flights, saying “every week, there are 17 regular passenger flights and up to 15 charter flights between the two countries. Before this, there were only four flights in a week.”