Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

The Tunisian authorities’ decision to exempt citizens of Iraq and Iran from entry visas sparked widespread controversy within the Tunisian street.

The Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it decided to cancel entry visas to Tunisia for holders of regular Iranian passports, as of June 15.

The Ministry decided to cancel the entry visa for holders of regular Iraqi passports for tourism purposes not exceeding 15 days, and once every 180 days, on the condition of presenting a prior and confirmed hotel reservation with a return ticket, as of June 15, 2024, according to the statement.

Commenting on the issue, Tunisian political analyst Hisham Al-Haji said that the decision has turned into a subject of political controversy, which hinders its understanding in its principled context and the orientations of the Tunisian state.

Al-Hajji added that the Tunisian security authorities have the assessment data and are aware of the national interest, noting that Iran took a similar decision to exempt Tunisians from entry visas.

Al-Hajji explained that the Iraqi and Iranian people are welcomed in Tunisia, with an aspiration to enhance tourism, economic and cultural exchange between Tunisia and these two countries.

For his part, political analyst Muhammad Saleh Al-Obaidi indicated that fears of religious or sectarian divisions in Tunisia after this decision was taken may be justified given the experiences of some Arab countries, but he ruled out similar repercussions in Tunisia.

Al-Obeidi stressed that the decision was taken thoughtfully and that the Tunisian security authorities are not unaware of any attempts to undermine stability.

In response to whether this step indicates Tunisia’s alignment behind Iran, Russia, and China, which Western reports have warned of, Al-Obeidi said that this is unlikely, stressing that Tunisian diplomacy has always chosen neutrality and has not moved towards replacing one axis with another.

It is noteworthy that President Kais Saied was the first Tunisian president to meet with the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, a few days ago on the sidelines of his visit to Tehran to offer condolences on the death of President Ibrahim Raisi, who died in his plane crash.

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