Iranians are returning to Dagestan after 300-year absence

Iranians are returning to Dagestan after 300-year absence
Iranians will revisit their ancient northern city for the first time in 300 years as part of a new group visa-free agreement with Russia. / CC: Yulia Arnaut
By bne IntelIiNews September 14, 2023

The first Iranian tour groups will visit Russia’s North Caucasus area as part of the visa-free group exchange launched on September 20, RIA Novosti reported on September 13. 

Iran has historical ties with Dagestan's oldest city Derbent (meaning “gateway” in Persian) that can be traced back to ancient Persia, when the region was a crucial strategic outpost for various Iranian dynasties. The region was occupied by Russia in the 17th century.

Nikita Kondratyev, Director of the Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation of Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, announced the first trip as part of a change in visa rules for tour groups from the Islamic Republic.

He added that a group of tourists from Russia should arrive in Iran on the same dates as Iran has also removed visas for groups as part of the development.

Iran previously said that it hoped that Russian tourists would holiday on islands in the Persian Gulf area, which have historically been the country's outbound tour strategy. 

“This will be a business mission organised by Kavkaz.RF,” the Russian official said.

“It takes representatives of the tourism industry to the territory of the North Caucasus Federal District, and we decided to join forces and thereby also test the mechanism with the first group from Iran,” he added.

Earlier, the head of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development said that Russia had proposed to Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to completely abolish tourist visas.

Iranian aviation company Pars Golden Sky (PGSC), announced on April 27 that it had signed an agreement with Republic of Dagestan that it would establish an aviation hub in the Russian region.

The hub will reportedly include an air cargo section and an aircraft repair facility. The latter could prove useful to Russia in that, although Iran’s aviation industry is under Western sanctions in the same way that Russia’s is, the Iranians have many years of experience in sourcing aircraft components on the shadow market and localising the production of plane parts.