Reports that Libya has banned foreigners with Iranian visas in their passports from entering the country appear to be only partly true. An immigration official at Tripoli International Airport has told the Libya Herald that the ban applies solely to Lebanese passport holders with Iranian visas. However, other immigration sources have said that the ban includes Syrians with Iranian visas and that it is a security measure.
The move was being linked by some commentators to claims that Shiites were been trying to proselytize in Libya. However, Iraqis, many of whom are Shiites, are apparently not banned nor are Iranians.
Yesterday, Solidarity Press reported that Foreign Ministry sources had said that all foreigners with Iranian visas in their passports had been banned. The Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, also claimed that the ban had been extended to cover all Lebanese citizens, regardless of having an Iranian visa or not.
The paper quoted a Lebanese businessman operating in Libya regularly since the revolution saying he had been denied a visa for the first time, adding that he knew of similar cases.
The paper also linked the ban to the decision to cancel the “First Libyan-Lebanese Investment Forum,” scheduled to take place yesterday and today in Tripoli. It quoted a Libyan travel agent in Lebanon saying that this was the reason for the cancellation. However, it also reported that a spokesperson for the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, which was supporting the forum, had denied the allegation saying that it had been informed by the Libyan committee organising the event that it was being postponed indefinitely.
The paper also said that the Lebanese Foreign Ministry had denied Lebanese passport holders were not being given Libyan visas.