June 26, 2022

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Tehran, Baghdad ink MOU to renew tourism co-op

TEHRAN – On Monday, Iran and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand cooperation in the tourism sector, IRNA reported. 

The MOU was signed by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami and Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities Hassan Nazim in Tehran’s Niavaran Palace. 

The agreement lays the ground for facilitating travel by car between the two countries in collaboration with the Touring and Automobile Club of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

Furthermore, the sides agreed to facilitate the issuance of tourist visas, banking services for travelers, and tourism-related investments such as hotel construction.

Specifically, the MOU emphasizes the removal of barriers to land tourism throughout the year, so that people may travel by private car all the year and not just during the Arbaeen ritual, Zarghami said on the sidelines of the event.

Pilgrimage tourism is the most important area for cooperation between the two sides, such as the Arbaeen ritual, which is the largest human community in the world, and is expected to be inscribed as a World Heritage, he added. 

The promotion of tourism through travel agencies boosts employment and economic growth in the two countries while establishing tourism credibility, he mentioned. 

For his part, Nazim said that due to the religious belief of the people of Iran and Iraq, religious tourism between the two countries is very important.

Nazim expressed hope that his visit to Iran would lead to a strengthening of cultural, artistic, and tourism relations between the two countries.

Back in February, Iran and Iraq discussed ways to facilitate travel by car between the two countries. 

Negotiations focused on facilitating car travel with the prediction that land traffic between the two countries would increase once the visa for Iran-Iraq is officially waived on March 4. 

In addition to providing suggestions for improving the procedure and further coordination, the two sides discussed obstacles and problems of temporary entry and exit of foreign passenger vehicles from Iraq into Iran and vice versa. 

The rules and regulations for motor vehicle international transit, fuel exemptions for passenger cars leaving Iran, the evaluation of the value of temporary entry vehicles, the temporary blocking of foreign travelers with expensive and luxury vehicles entering Iran, as well as the ease of access to mobile SIM cards at borders were also discussed. 

Back in November, several Iraqi travel insiders and tour operators requested Iran waive visa requirements for Iraqi nationals who want to enter the Islamic Republic via land borders.

Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, recently announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had promised to waive the land visa between Iran and Iraq starting on March 4. 

Furthermore, the two neighbors agreed to abolish visa requirements for air travelers last year. The announcement came after Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met in Tehran, discussing various issues including visa waiver, a joint railway project, and increasing the level of trade.


Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/473637/Tehran-Baghdad-ink-MOU-to-renew-tourism-co-op

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