December 4, 2014
The Tunisian Ministry for Foreign Affairs announced on November 28 that “in support and consolidation of bilateral relations between Tunis and a number of ‘friendly countries’”, the Ministry has decided that citizens from these ‘friendly countries’ are exempt from visa procedures.
The Ministry listed those countries as following: Iran, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Moldova, Costa Rica, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gabon, The Comoros, Namibia, and South Africa.
In practice these new regulations mean that citizens from the ‘friendly countries’ listed can enter Tunisia without needing a visa and can stay for a maximum of 3 months, as is the case for most EU and American nationals. Some Tunisians, such as the former presidential candidate Hechmi Hamdi, have criticized the move, citing Iran’s perceived growing geopolitical influence in the Middle East and North Africa region. Especially significant is the fact that Tunisia is one of only ten countries in the world- and the only Arab country – that does not require a visa from Iranian citizens prior to travel.