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Indonesia confirms visa clamp on Iranians

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    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/18066494/indonesia-confirms-visa-clamp-on-iranians/ Indonesia confirms visa clamp on Iranians AP Updated July 19,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2013
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      Indonesia confirms visa clamp on Iranians

      AP Updated July 19, 2013, 4:25 pm
       
      Indonesia will stop issuing visas on arrival to Iranians after many of them misused the facility.

      EPA © Indonesia will stop issuing visas on arrival to Iranians after many of them misused the facility.

        Indonesia has confirmed it will stop issuing visas on arrival to Iranians after a growing number of them have been caught smuggling drugs or have used the country as a transit point before seeking asylum in Australia.

        Amir Syamsuddin, justice and human rights minister, signed a decree on Thursday revoking the visa on arrival option for Iranians that has been in place since 2005, immigration office spokesman Maryoto Hadi said on Friday.

        The new restrictions start August 20.

        "Many Iranians are misusing such visa facilities," Hadi said.

        "They did not come here for tourism purposes, but to smooth their way to seek asylum in Australia and for drugs smuggling."

        Although the move could slow the growing flow of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat, he declined to say whether the decision was to fulfil a request from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during a meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono earlier this month.

        "It's clear their arrival made us overwhelmed, many came here for harmful activities," Hadi said, adding that Indonesia will continue to issue visas to Iranians who qualify for travel after applying at its overseas embassies.

        Indonesia has granted visas on arrival to more than 60 countries, including Iran, in a bid to boost tourism by making it easier for foreigners from those nations to obtain visas for $US25 ($A27) at 15 airports and 21 seaports.

        Indonesia has become a major transit point for people fleeing persecution or economic hardship in their home countries.

        Many risk their lives on rickety boats en route to Australia's Christmas Island, 500km south of Indonesia's capital. Hundreds have died in sea accidents during the dangerous journey.
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