The Korea Herald

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S. Korea issues special travel advisory for Iran amid Middle East tensions

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : April 15, 2024 - 17:39

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Formerly under Travel Alert Level 2 (Yellow Alert), the now-upgraded Special Travel Advisory is equivalent to Travel Alert Level 3, urging nationals to evacuate designated areas unless in an emergency and to defer or cancel planned trips. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Formerly under Travel Alert Level 2 (Yellow Alert), the now-upgraded Special Travel Advisory is equivalent to Travel Alert Level 3, urging nationals to evacuate designated areas unless in an emergency and to defer or cancel planned trips. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

South Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a special travel advisory for Iran, effective as of Monday, in response to the escalating tensions in the Middle East.

The special travel advisory is equivalent to a travel alert level 3 within the 4-stage travel alert system, or a red alert, which advises nationals to leave the designated area unless it's an emergency and to postpone or cancel planned trips to the area.

While the previous level 3 alert for specific regions of Iran remains unchanged, other regions previously under level 2 alert, or a yellow alert, have now been upgraded to a special travel advisory status, according to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.

The areas covered by the level 3 alert include border areas of Turkey and Iraq, Sistan-Baluchestan Province, and three coastal provinces along the Persian Gulf: Hormozgan, Bushehr and Khuzestan.

"During the special travel advisory period, we kindly request our nationals intending to travel to Iran to cancel or postpone their trips. For our citizens currently residing in the affected areas, we urge them to depart for safer regions unless faced with urgent circumstances," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

For Israel, a travel alert level 3 is currently in effect for all regions except the Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, a travel alert level 4, the highest level, is imposed, according to the Foreign Ministry. The level 4 alert enforces a travel ban and requires the immediate withdrawal of residents.

"The Foreign Ministry will continue to assess the need for further adjustments to travel advisories and other measures while closely monitoring the situation in Iran," the statement read.

South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul also convened a meeting Monday afternoon to address Iran's attack on Israel.

Seoul's announcement came around one day after Iran's unprecedented large-scale and direct attack on Israeli territory, which commenced late Saturday with the launch of a swarm of explosive drones and missiles. Iranian officials said that the attack was in retaliation for what they described as an Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria on April 1.