Some foreign diplomats in Iran have revealed that the US sanctions on Iran cover the country’s tourism industry as well, saying Washington has warned a number of foreign travel agencies and diplomatic missions against cooperating with the Islamic Republic in the tourism area.
Deputy Ambassador of Malaysia to Iran and some Chinese tour leaders say some US agents have contacted them warning against establishing cooperation with Iran in the tourism area.
“This time the US has blatantly threatened Iran’s tourism industry. Foreign travel agencies are not allowed to take anyone on a tour of Iran, otherwise it would ban them and create legal problems for the tourists who visited Iran when they want to enter the US,” a report by Mehr news agency said.
In a press conference on the sidelines of the International Tourism Exhibition recently held in Tehran, Deputy Head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, Vali Teymouri, said some people from the US embassies in different parts of the world contact the host countries’ travel agencies threatening them with ban over any efforts promoting Iran’s tourism industry.
“The diplomats explicitly say if the agencies run tours of Iran, they will face serious problems,” he noted.
His statements were confirmed by some Chinese travel agencies visiting Iran. They said the US has already warned some leading travel agencies in China against working with Iran.
Rostam Yahya, Malaysian Ambassador to Iran, also said he has received some threatening letters from a number of US missions warning him against any cooperation with the Islamic Republic in the tourism area.
Speaking on the sidelines of a tourism exhibition in Tehran, he said Malaysia’s embassy doesn’t take the letters seriously.
“Iran is our good partner not only in tourism but also in commercial and educational areas,” he said.
Yahya also described the US sanctions on Iran as unilateral, adding Malaysia adopts its diplomacy based on its own national interests.
“Despite the threats, the number of Malaysian tours of Iran has increased over the past weeks,” he said.