DUSHANBE -- An Iranian government official said today that Tajikistan has rejected an offer to establish visa-free travel between the two countries, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Hassan Qashqavi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for consular affairs, said in Dushanbe at the end of a four-day visit that Tajikistan is not ready to agree to Tehran's proposal to abolish visa requirements.
But he said Tajik officials did agree to issue one-year multiple visas for Iranian entrepreneurs who invest up to $500,000 in the country and three-year multiple visas for Iranians who have invested more than $500,000 in Tajikistan.
Qashqavi also noted that Iranian and Tajik students are eligible to receive three-year visas. He added that along with having a visa-free regime for holders of diplomatic passports they are also considering a further easing of visa restrictions.
Dushanbe-based Tajik affairs expert Muzaffar Olimov said the decision to reject Iran's offer is political. Olimov noted that it is similar to the issue of Tajikistan, Iran, and Afghanistan agreeing to create a joint television network but due to political reasons not carrying through on the project.
Tajikistan and Iran also announced today that a Tajik Consulate will be opened in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad and an Iranian Consulate in the northern Tajik city of Khujand.