Zarif Opposes Canceling Visa-Free Regime With Azerbaijan

Zarif Opposes Canceling Visa-Free Regime With AzerbaijanZarif Opposes Canceling Visa-Free Regime With Azerbaijan

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that he believes it is not in Iran’s interests to cancel the visa-free regime for Azeri citizens visiting Iran. Zarif, who was in the Majlis answering questions, was commenting in response to a stance calling for canceling the visa-free entry for Azeri citizens after Baku canceled such a regime for Iranians, ISNA reported. The minister said “given the conditions in the country, I think we will lose economic benefits.” In 2016, the two governments announced an agreement that would allow citizens of both countries to visit Iran and Republic of Azerbaijan without a visa. However, the Azeri parliament recently revoked that agreement. Baku’s gesture caused some lawmakers in Tehran to call for a reciprocal action. Elaborating on the matter, Zarif said, “our Majlis has the right to cancel the visa-free regime, in a reciprocal action, for Azeri citizens. But I advise against the move as Azeri pilgrims visiting Mashhad and Qom are a good source of income for us.” Mashhad and Qom, located in northeastern and north of Iran respectively, are the two major religious cities in Iran, drawing millions of pilgrims from in and outside of the country every year.

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