Iran, Kazakhstan to Ease Visa Restrictions for Merchants

Iran, Kazakhstan to Ease Visa Restrictions for Merchants

Iran and Kazakhstan decided on Thursday to eliminate visa requirements for business people by February 2017, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana, President Rouhani highlighted the abundant opportunities for closer cooperation with Kazakhstan, giving details of five agreements the two countries signed on Thursday.

Under a very helpful decision to ease visa requirements, the business people, merchants and economic activists of the two countries will not need to apply for a visa anymore by February 2017, President Rouhani explained, expressing the hope that tourists travelling in groups would also enjoy such waiver.

He also unveiled plans for direct flights between Tehran and Astana, saying Iran has made preparations for special customs services for Kazakhstan in border markets.

President Rouhani also noted that Iran and Kazakhstan, two producers and exporters of oil and gas, can cooperate under an oil swap contract in the Caspian Sea ports. “We can receive Kazakh crude and deliver oil to customers of Kazakh oil in the Persian Gulf.”

He also noted that Kazakhstan has voiced support for Iran’s accession to Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union.

For his part, Nazarbayev hailed Iran as a safe friend and neighbor, saying President Rouhani’s official visit would provide fresh impetus for Tehran-Astana friendly ties.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, President Rouhani arrived in Astana on Thursday morning. He began a tour of regional countries by visiting Armenia on Wednesday.