US-based Zoroastrian priest killed in Iran: reports

Zoroastrianism predates Islam in Iran, but now only counts roughly 25,000 adherents. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

US-based Zoroastrian priest killed in Iran: reports

  • Prosecutors believe the murder of the priest may have been financially motivated
  • Zoroastrianism is a officially recognised as a religious minority in Iran

TEHRAN: A Zoroastrian priest who resided in the United States has been killed on a visit to Iran, the country’s judiciary said in local media reports on Sunday.
The body of Arash Kasravi was found in the central province of Kerman alongside those of two other people who were not members of the religious minority, the province’s prosecutor was quoted as saying.
“Three bodies were discovered in a villa in Mahan city and they were apparently murdered,” Dadkhoda Salari told state television.
“Investigations showed that one of them was Arash Kasravi, a member of the Zoroastrian religious minority,” he added.
The prosecutor did not disclose the identity of the two others who were slain.
But he added that the murder seemed financially motivated, and noted that $10,000 (8,500 euros) was found in one of the victims’ cars.
Iran’s Etemad newspaper said Kasravi was a US resident who had been living in California with his family for the past 10 years.
The daily said he had returned to Iran last year to attend his father’s funeral and stayed for inheritance proceedings but disappeared days ago with two “friends” before being found dead.
Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in Persia, prior to the arrival of Islam, but according to government figures they only counted less than 25,000 adherents in 2016.
Iran officially recognizes “Iranian Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians” as religious minorities.


Oman resumes issuance of work visas, tourist visas still on hold

Updated 30 November 2020

Oman resumes issuance of work visas, tourist visas still on hold

  • Visa permits are valid for 15 months from the date of issuance
  • Revenues of three to five-star hotels in the Sultanate fell 60.2 percent as of end-October

DUBAI: Individuals who have been cleared by Oman’s Ministry of Labor can now apply for work visas online, daily Times of Oman reported.
“Non-Omani workers and housemaid visas can be applied for electronically. Applications can be submitted either through the Royal Oman Police website, or through Sanad offices. At the moment, however, applications for tourism visas are still suspended,” the daily quoted an unnamed senior Royal Oman Police official.
Visa permits are valid for 15 months from the date of issuance, hence, those who received them but were unable to process their visa applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic can now do so, Times of Oman added.
As for those without a permit yet, “the ministry is working on providing permission to apply for work visas,” the daily quoted an official from the Ministry of Labor.
Meanwhile, revenues of three to five-star hotels in the Sultanate fell 60.2 percent as of end-October to $18.38 million from $46.2 million of the same period last year.
Hotel occupancy rate dropped by 53.9 percent in the first 10 months of 2020 to 646,841 guests, down from 1.4 million during the same time last year, Oman Times reported.