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Belarus, Iran might ease visa regulations

MINSK, 29 March (BelTA) – Belarus and Iran consider a possibility to simplify visa regulations, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a press conference in Minsk on 29 March, BelTA has learnt.

“We should ease visa requirements and intensify cooperation in tourism. This will contribute to closer ties in economy and trade,” Ramin Mehmanparast said.

At present Belarus and Iran have a visa-free regime for holders of diplomatic and service passports. “We believe the visa-free regime should be extended to ordinary people who apply for tourist or employment visas. We have discussed the matter with representatives of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry and we will monitor how it will go using diplomatic channels,” Ramin Mehmanparast said.

The sides might eventually abolish all visas altogether. “Of course, we would like to abolish all the visas. The first step to a visa-free regime is simplification of visa procedures. The next step is abolition of visas,” Ramin Mehmanparast said.

He emphasized that Iran and Belarus have developed friendly relations in politics; the two countries hold similar views on the international agenda. “The two countries are independent and defend their sovereignty. This is the reason why they are constantly pressurized by western countries,” he noted.

Belarus and Iran have great opportunities to expand cooperation in all the areas, including humanitarian field and trade. “We have agreed on a closer collaboration between our universities. We believe that we can exchange student groups and expand inter-university ties,” Ramin Mehmanparast said. The two countries would like to ramp up contacts between mass media outlets. Belarus and Iran could exchange delegations of journalists. This will help raise awareness of the public about the prospects of the bilateral cooperation. According to Ramin Mehmanparast, there are many promising cooperation avenues in economy and trade. “The private sector might be more actively involved. We provide substantial support and preferences for this kind of cooperation,” Ramin Mehmanparast said. A reminder, Belarus-Iran ministerial consultations on information-related matters are held in Minsk on 28-29 March. The Belarusian delegation is led by Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Belarus Andrei Savinykh; the Iranian delegation is chaired by Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.