Khosravi border crossing reopens to pilgrims visiting Iraq

October 7, 2019

TEHRAN – The Khosravi border crossing, which is the nearest border to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the holy city of Karbala, was reopened on Monday morning.

The border crossing had been closed at the request of Iraqi officials due to the curfew in Baghdad which came after protests in Iraq turned violent.

“We sought to find a new route that, if curfew continued in Baghdad, would allow pilgrims to pass and this has been done,” Tasnim quoted Kermanshah Province’s Governor Houshang Bazvand as saying on Monday.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged all pilgrims from the country to postpone their visit to Iraq until calm is restored.

“Stressing the importance of the great march of Arbaeen and the necessity of holding this magnificent congregation, the Foreign Ministry calls on the Iranian faithful ... to postpone their visit to Iraq until calm is restored to the country, and to pay close attention to the warnings of political and security officials,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Iran is confident the Iraqi government and nation will work with all groups, parties and personalities, especially the top clerics and other religious authorities and political leaders to calm the current tense situation, it added.

Arbaeen, which is the largest religious gathering in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shia Imam.

Each year, a huge crowd of Shia Muslims flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rituals.

In August, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement in Tehran to reopen the Khosravi border crossing and remove visa requirements for Iranian pilgrims.

Iran and Iraq also agreed to raise the level of services and facilities for the pilgrims and enhance border security during the Arbaeen season, which will culminate in a large gathering in Karbala on October 19.

The four border crossings of Khosravi, Mehran, Chazzabeh, and Shalamcheh are open to Arbaeen pilgrims.

MH/PA

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