The relaxation of visa requirements for 33 countries, including Saudi Arabia, now allows citizens of 45 countries to visit Iran without obtaining a visa.
The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Thursday that Iran was lifting visa requirements for 33 countries, including Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, with which Tehran had frosty relations for years until a recent rapprochement.
The Ministry of Tourism believes that an open-door policy will showcase Iran’s determination to engage with different countries of the world, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
According to the decision, the number of countries or territories whose citizens can visit Iran without a visa will be increased to 45.
The move is another step toward thawing relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, particularly after years of hostility between the two Gulf oil producers.
In the last decade, Riyadh and Tehran have sided with warring parties in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, which Western officials blame on Iran and its Arab proxy forces, have threatened to escalate the Middle East conflict in recent years. Iran has denied having any role in the attacks.
Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed in March to resume full diplomatic relations, which were severed in 2016.
In addition to Bahrain, nationals of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are exempt from visa requirements.
ISNA provided a complete list of the countries, which included Lebanon, Tunisia, India, and several Central Asian, African, and “Muslim” nations. Croatia, a small member of the European Union and NATO was the only Western-allied European country on the list.
Russians will only profit from this visa exemption if they are visiting the country in groups, a statement from ISNA stated.
Before this announcement, Omani nationals were able to travel to Iran without a visa.
For the first time in eight years, Iranian pilgrims will begin regular travel to Saudi Arabia on December 19, according to Iranian media on Wednesday.