1218 GMT August 15, 2022
Iran’s Foreign Ministry is continuing its constant efforts to ensure Iranian nationals’ safe return from Ukraine to their country though the East European state’s neighbors.
As part of such efforts, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in a Friday phone conversation with his Slovakian counterpart, Ivan Korcok, called on Slovakia to facilitate the return of Iranian nationals to their homeland, Press TV reported.
Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, the top Iranian diplomat expressed hope for the settlement of the crisis in a “political and peaceful” way after Russia launched a military operation against the former Soviet state.
Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Iran plans to transfer its citizens to their homeland by air after they have entered Ukraine’s neighboring countries, including Slovakia.
“A group of Iranian nationals living in Ukraine have requested to leave the country,” Iran’s foreign minister said. “We call on the Slovakian government to cooperate and assist with the entry of Iranian nationals from Ukraine to Slovakia without a visa.”
Korcok welcomed Amir-Abdollahian’s proposal and announced his country's readiness to cooperate with Iranian citizens to leave Ukraine via the Slovakian border without the need for a visa.
Iranian citizens can enter Slovakia through the Ukraine border and travel to Tehran, he underlined.
In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the same day, Amir-Abdollahian said efforts are underway for the repatriation of Iranian nationals living in Ukraine through neighboring countries.
“It is our serious priority to ensure security and health of Iranian citizens living in Ukraine and we expect that the grounds will be prepared for their safe exit,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Amir-Abdollahian called for the Hungarian government’s assistance in the process of returning his country’s nationals from Ukraine through Hungary’s soil.
He made the request in a phone conversation with his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto.
“Iranian citizens, including students, families of diplomats, and other Iranians living in Ukraine, want to cross the Polish and Hungarian borders to return to Iran,” he said.
The top Iranian diplomat expressed concern over previous steps by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which had created a crisis in Eastern Europe and underscored the need to support political solutions to the Ukraine crisis.
Call on Poland
Also on Saturday, the Islamic Republic called on Poland to facilitate Iranian nationals’ transfer from Ukraine to Tehran through its territory.
The request was made in a Saturday meeting between Director-General of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Department of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe Mohammad Hassan Habibollah-Zadeh and Polish Ambassador to Tehran Maciej Fałkowski, IRNA reported.
Expounding on the measures implemented so far by the Iranian Embassy in Warsaw, Habibollah-Zadeh described as highly important Iranian nationals’ safe return to Tehran from Ukraine.
He expressed hope that the Polish government would help accelerate Iranians’ transfer to their country through issuing the required permits and providing facilities.
Fałkowski said over the past few days, entries to Poland by Ukraine-based foreign nationals have seen an increase, noting that the Polish government has implemented the required measures and is ready to help facilitate Iranians’ return to their country.
The two sides decided to continue contacts for coordination in this regard.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also announced in a Saturday statement that the country’s nationals seeking to leave Ukraine can obtain Moldova’s visa and then apply for entry to Romania.
The statement added that in Moldova, Iranians can get a visa for Romania through the country’s consular offices in Chișinău, Cernauti, Cahul and Balti, or the border crossings between Romania and Moldova.
Commenting on Iran’s latest measures to evacuate the country’s nationals from Ukraine on Friday, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said arrangements and coordination are being made between a task force set up in the ministry and the Iranian Embassy in Kiev to facilitate the process.
He added that since the exacerbation of tensions in the region, the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Kiev have been implementing diverse numerous measures to evacuate the country’s nationals.
Khatibzadeh said in view of the ministry’s precise predictions, the related Iranian authorities and organizations had already been informed of the developments unfolding today in Ukraine, and a crisis management task force was immediately set up in the ministry with the aim of maximizing coordination and better management of the situation.
He noted that he gave him the required instructions for the nationals’ immediate evacuations.
The spokesman said Amir-Abdollahian’s phone conversations with his Hungarian counterpart were his latest measure to this end.
He gave the assurance that responding to concerns voiced by the families of the Iranian nationals in Ukraine is among the Foreign Ministry’s responsibilities.
Khatibzadeh added the necessary instructions have been given to the Iranian embassies in Ukraine’s neighboring countries such as Poland, Hungary, Belarus, Moldova and Romania, saying they are in a state of full alert.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday a "special military operation" aimed at “demilitarization” of eastern Ukraine's restive Donetsk and Lugansk regions, collectively known as Donbas, according to Press TV.
The regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected, pro-Moscow administration.
Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime”.
The Kiev government has called for the “toughest sanctions possible” as Russian forces are making rapid advances towards the capital, with reports saying 137 Ukrainians, both military personnel and civilians, have been killed since the attack began, and 316 more were wounded.
The European Union and the United States have already slapped various sanctions against Moscow in response to the military action.