Visas no longer needed for travel between Iraq and Iran

Agreement reached during visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi to Tehran

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Sunday that the visa requirement for travel between his country and neighbouring Iraq had been scrapped.

He made the announcement during a one-day visit to Tehran by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi.

Mr Raisi, who took office last month, also said Mr Al Kadhimi had agreed to allow more Iranians to make the Arbaeen pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala, in central Iraq.

The Iranian president said in a press conference that “good meetings” were held by Iraqi and Iranian officials, focusing on strengthening bilateral ties. He said the discussions focused on politics, the economy and cultural relations.

A railway connecting Shalamcheh in Iran to Basra in southern Iraq was also on the agenda, and Mr Raisi said the leaders had “decided to speed up its implementation in the interest of the two countries”.

Mr Al Kadhimi led a high-level delegation on his one-day visit, Iraqi state television reported. It was the first visit by a head of state to Iran since Mr Raisi took office.

Baghdad has also hosted rounds of talks between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia in recent months.

In August, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian took part in a meeting with heads of state and senior officials from France, Turkey and several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia.

The session, hosted by Iraq, was aimed at easing tension in the Middle East and shored up Baghdad’s new role as a regional mediator.

Updated: September 13, 2021, 5:56 AM