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Iran ready for quick cancellation of visa requirement for Iraq: Official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows passengers at a border crossing between Iran and Iraq.

A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official says Tehran is ready to immediately implement a decision to cancel visa requirements for Iraqi citizens if the Iraqi side agrees to grant visa-free access to Iranians visiting the Arab country.

Rasul Mohajer said on Tuesday that the Iranian Cabinet had approved in a last week meeting to scrap visa requirements for Iraq as soon as the Iraqi government agrees to a similar move affecting Iranian citizens.

Speaking after a forum of Iranian and Iraqi businesses in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Mohajer said that Iraqi citizens will become exempt from Iran’s visa rules right on the day Iraq adopts a similar visa policy.

Iran has been pressing for a reciprocal visa waiver program with Iraq as more Iranians keep traveling to the neighboring Iraq for religious visits or for business purposes.

Millions of Iranians flock to the holy shrines in Iraq during an annual procession marking the 40th day since the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the third shia imam and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Visits to Iran by Iraqi passengers have also increased in recent years as the two countries keep strengthening their economic and political ties..

Iran and Iraq agreed during a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Baghdad in March 2019 to drop visa fees for citizens visiting the two countries.

Mohajer said that the two countries would continue to impose tough restrictions at borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus even if the visa-waiver program is agreed and implemented.

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