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Iran and Iraq start visa waiver programme

Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi attends Rafidain Forum in Baghdad, Iraq on August 30, 2021 [Haydar Karaalp/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]
Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi attends Rafidain Forum in Baghdad, Iraq on August 30, 2021 [Haydar Karaalp/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Iran and Iraq have removed visa requirements for their respective citizens travelling between the two countries by air. Tehran's ambassador in Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, made the announcement on Twitter on Monday.

Masjedi used his tweet to pay respects to the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and let Iranian citizens know that all they need when they travel to Iraq by air is a valid passport and to be following the necessary health standards applied during the pandemic. He added the same information in another tweet addressed to Iraqi citizens, who can now enjoy visa-free travel to Iran.

The visa waiver programme was agreed upon between the two neighbours during a visit to Tehran by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi last month, where he met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

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Prior to Kadhimi's trip, the Iraqi government granted an additional 30,000 visas to Iranian citizens for the annual Arbaeen pilgrimage to Karbala, doubling the visa quota for Iranian nationals.

In June, Masjedi said that the issue of cancelling entry visas between the two countries was "not limited to the occasion of visiting the holy shrines in the month of Muharram, and we are currently waiting for the approval of the Iraqi side to implement this decision."

Iran entered into negotiations with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on the cancellation of visas, and a joint committee was formed in this regard, said the ambassador at the time. "These meetings led to a bilateral agreement that is currently being drafted."

Earlier that month, the Iranian cabinet approved the cancellation of entry visas for Iraqi passport holders, on the condition that Baghdad would offer reciprocal treatment for Iranians.

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