People raise voices over suspension of visas for Iran in Herat

A number of people have raised their voices about the suspension of visa issuance for Afghan citizens at the Iranian Consulate in western Herat province.

Residents of the western provinces said that people, particularly those who need to travel to Iran for medical treatment, have faced problems due to the suspension of visas by the Consulate.

Ghulam Farooq, a resident of Herat, said: “People have to go to Iran to work, study, or for treatment. Because we can [easily communicate] as both countries speak the same [Persian] language and the economic situation is also bad, we have to go to work.”

Abdul Hai, another resident of Herat, said: “I face a lot of problems, I am sick, I want to get a visa and go to Iran for treatment and work. But now they don’t give us visas and this is very worrying.”

The Iranian Consulate in Herat has suspended medical, study, and tourist visas. The consulate issues business visas only.

The Consulate used to issue 300 to 500 visas at a time for Afghan nationals, allowing them to visit Iran.

The local Taliban administration, however, said in a statement that the provincial governor Noor Ahmed Islam Jar has recently met with the Consul General of Iran in Herat, Mohammad Siddiqifar.

“In this meeting, the two sides emphasized the need to strengthen relations and expand cooperation in various sectors, including culture.

Also, resolving the problem of tourist visa services was one of the other issues that were discussed in this meeting,” the statement said.

The Iranian consulate said that it halted the issuance of visas nearly two months ago after the Taliban closed its agency assisting 211 tourism, pilgrimage, and treatment services companies with the process of Iranian visas in Herat.

Following the takeover of the Taliban in August 2021, the number of applicants applying for Iran visas at the Herat consulate increased. Iranian embassy announced several months ago that it will issue tourist visas through Afghan companies providing tourism and pilgrim services. But now, a large number of people from western provinces are being forced to wait overnight in long lines to obtain visas.