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News number: 9107163896

18:30 | 2013-04-23

Culture

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Tourist Visits Double between Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan

TEHRAN (FNA)- The number of tourists arriving from Iraq's Kurdistan region in Iran and Iranian tourists in the Iraqi autonomous region has doubled in the last few years, an Iranian diplomat announced on Tuesday.



Iran's Consular-General in the Northern Iraqi city of Erbil Azim Hosseini said his office issued 300,000 entry visas for Kurdish tourists last year, while an equal number of visas were issued for the Iranian tourists.

"The figures show that the number of tourist visits between the two sides doubled compared with previous years, which indicates that the friendly relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Islamic Republic of Iran have further consolidated," Hosseini told PUK media.

In March, Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan region launched direct flights between Iran's Western city of Orumiyeh and Iraq's Northern city of Erbil.

Direct flights between Orumiyeh and Iraq's Northern city of Erbil are available after the airline between the two cities was launched on Sunday with the presence of a number of Iranian and Iraqi officials.

Director of Orumiyeh International Airport Kamal Parhizgar said in a ceremony held to celebrate the event that the flight would be two days a week on Sundays and Thursdays.

Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan region have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.

In January, Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi stressed the necessity for the further expansion of the relations between Tehran and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

In a meeting with Head of the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan Ali Abdul-Aziz in Tehran, Rahimi said, "The two nations enjoy brotherly ties and in this while the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan, too, is one of the noble movements which is close to both nations."