1.3m Iranians so far receive Iraqi visa for Arbaeen: official

November 28, 2015 - 0:0

Iraq has so far issued visas for 1.3 million Iranian pilgrims to perform Arbaeen mourning rituals in the city of Karbala, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization said on Thursday.

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency in Iran’s western city of Ilam, Saeed Ohadi said 800,000 Iranian pilgrims have until now travelled to Iraq via three border crossings for the Arbaeen procession.

The official called on the Iranian travelers not to flock only into the Mehran border crossing in the province of Ilam, recommending them to use two other border crossings in Chazzabeh and Shalamcheh, located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

Ohadi also expected a higher number of pilgrims crossing the border in the coming days.

Iranian officials have also announced that a number of Iranian nationals, who had entered Iraq illegally to attend the religious procession, have been returned to the country.

The Arbaeen mourning ceremony is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. It marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Imam Hossein (AS).

Each year, pilgrims, mainly from Iraq and Iran, travel long routes on foot to Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hossein (AS) is located. Last year, around 20 million pilgrims from all over the world gathered in Karbala on Arbaeen.

Health conditions of Iranian pilgrims in Iraq under control

Iranian Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi also said on Thursday that there is no concern about the health of Iranian pilgrims visiting Iraq, saying everything is under control, IRNA reported.

Hashemi made the remarks during a visit to Shalamcheh border to examine the process of rendering services to Iranian pilgrims.

Rendering services to Iranian pilgrims this year is much more systematic compared to the previous year, Hashemi said.

He said that some 1,000 doctors and nurses have been dispatched to Iraq to provide medical services to pilgrims.

Hashemi assured the Iranian pilgrims that there is no special disease in Iraq and there is no concern about rumors of outbreak of cholera in the country.

Iran asks Iraq to speed up visa issuance for Arbaeen pilgrims

In a telephone conversation on Friday, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called on Iraq to accelerate the process of issuing visa to Iranian pilgrims.

Rahmani Fazli and his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban also exchanged views about the measures taken for the influx of Iranian pilgrims to the holy city of Karbala to attend the Arbaeen mourning ceremony in early December.

Babak Dinparast, the head of the interior ministry’s information center, said Rahmani Fazli has asked Ghabban to help expedite visa processing by the Iraqi consular offices in Iran for the country’s pilgrims.

The Iranian minister also assured that as in the past, the Islamic Republic’s police forces and border guards will prevent the illegal entrance into Iraq.