More Iraqi Kurds visit Iran as rial depreciation reduces travel costs

MNA –The depreciation of Iranian national currency ‘the rial’ has significantly decreased the cost of travel to Iran for Iraqi Kurds, boosting tourism in the country.

Shared border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan have been witnessing a significant increase in the number of Iraqi Kurds who visit Iran as the cost of travel for them has reduced dramatically as a result of rial depreciation.

The Iraqi Kurds are pouring into Iran in large numbers for holiday or medical purposes through three main border crossings between Iran and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Director-General of the Kurdistan Region – Iran relations at the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations Abdullah Akreyi told IRNA news agency in Erbil that cultural similarities, medical needs, the appropriate time for travel as well as rial depreciation are the main actors behind the surge in the number of the Kurds who visit Iranthis summer.

Akreyi said that more than 3,000 people travel to Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan each day now, indicating a significant increase in the numbers of travels to Iran.

Regarding the restrictions on the borders as the US sanctions against Iran take effect, he said “we are a part of the Iraqi government and it is up to Iraqi government to decide on such macro issues.”

He said the Iraqi Kurdistan Government would not unilaterally give in to the restrictions and will only implement the decisions made by Iraqi central government.

The Iraqi Kurdistan official further dismissed claims that the KRG will shut down borders with Iran, emphasizing that border gates are vital sources of income for the Kurdish region.