Iran, Iraq agree to cancel visa requirements as Al-Kadhimi meets Raisi

Iran, Iraq agree to cancel visa requirements as Al-Kadhimi meets Raisi
2 min read
13 September, 2021
Iraq and Iran have agreed to cancel visa requirements for visitors from both countries.
Visas requirements will be cancelled between Iraq and Iran [Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Iraq and Iran both agreed on Sunday to cancel visa requirements during the Iraqi prime minister's second official visit to Tehran this year.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke of the "good news" he received from his guest, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who informed him that visa requirements for citizens wishing to visit Iraq would be cancelled.

Iraqi citizens visiting Iran would also be exempt from visa restrictions.

Raisi - an ultraconservative politician who took on his role last month - stressed that his country is looking forward to consolidating relations with Iraq.

"We are convinced that these relations will be strengthened by playing regional and international roles," he said.

Raisi added that Al-Kadhimi promised to allow more Iranian pilgrims to visit the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala to participate in the annual Shia Muslim Ashura holiday and the commemoration which follows 40 days later known as "Arbaeen".

As well as Karbala, Iraq is home to many important Shia shrines such as in Najaf.

The two also discussed issues on transport and financial cooperation between their countries, which fought a bloody war between 1980 and 1988, the anniversary of which falls on 22 September.

Iran has long had a deep influence in Iraqi politics, where it backs several Shia militias as part of its proxy war with Saudi Arabia and the US.

Baghdad has recently taken on a mediator role to ease tensions between Iran and Tehran's long-time foe Saudi Arabia, which it hopes will have a positive impact on internal Iraqi issues.