Iran to stop sending pilgrims to Iraq in Oct.

September 16, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Travel agencies have stopped registering pilgrims who want to visit Iraqi holy sites during the Iranian month of Mehr which starts from September 23 to October 23, Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization (IHPO) Deputy director Hossein Akbari announced here on Tuesday.

“No registration will be done in the month of Mehr for the Iranians who intend to visit Iraq’s holy shrines,” Akbari noted.
He cited bad services to pilgrims as the major reason behind the decision.
Akbari stressed a resumption of registration will be subject to an improvement in quality of services provided to Iranian pilgrims.
According to the latest figures released by the IHPO, every day 3,000 Iranian pilgrims were traveling to the neighboring country through various border check points including Mehran, Shalamcheh, and Khosravi. However, the number declined by 30% in the current month.
Akbari added there has been an over 30% fall in the number of pilgrims traveling to holy sites in Iraq during the holy month of Ramadan.
He said the drop in the number of pilgrims has been effective as it has “led to renovation and reconstruction of 80% of Iraqi hotels.”
The official said sending pilgrims to Iraq will be keenly pursued “so long as Iraqi officials provide good services to the Iranian pilgrims.