Russia says it has lifted visa restrictions for tourists and businessmen from Iran as well as 17 other countries for trips to the country’s Far East. Russia’s Prime MinisterDmitry Medvedev says tourists and businessmen from 18 countries – including Iran – can visit the country’s Far East without visas.
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The announcement was made by Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as reported by Sputnik news agency. "I have recently approved the list of countries, whose nationals can take advantage of the preferential regime. Businessmen and tourists will not need to undergo the traditional procedure of Russian visas receipt," the Prime Minister said. It will be enough for foreigners "to enter their data on a special website in the Internet," Medvedev said. "We are proactively forming the modern infrastructure and creating special regimes in the Far East; the law on visits to the Vladivostok free port was approved in March," Medvedev said. Cancellation of visa procedures for tourists and businessmen "will promote growth of investment and tourist attractiveness of the Far East," the prime minister said. The region will earn more money from tourist traffic growth, he added. Eighteen countries from various regions selected by the reciprocity principle were included into the list, Medvedev said. "This is not because these states are situated at a closer or longer distance - we are appropriately introducing bilateral agreements on visa-free travel for those ready to use such an approach for us," he added. According to the official site of the Cabinet, the list of 18 countries comprises Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, India, Iran, Qatar, China, North Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey and Japan. Sputnik reported in late March that Iran and Russia had signed an agreement to simplify visa procedures for groups of tourists travelling between the two countries. According to the Federal Agency for Tourism, the flow of tourists from Iran to Russia in 2016 was expected to exceed the record levels of last year, Sputnik added. In 2016, Iran’s Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri announced that the country wanted to attract 1-2 million visitors by removing tourist visas for Russian nationals.