Iran closes southwestern border to Iraqi travelers

December 17, 2019 - 19:39

TEHRAN – Iran has closed its southwestern Chazzabeh border crossing with Iraq to inbound travelers due to insecurity and unrest in the neighboring country.

“The ban on the entry of Iraqi citizens is enforced by two countries’ border crossings due to the continued insecurity in Iraq,” IRNA quoted Ahmad Sobhani, director of the border terminal, as saying on Sunday.

The official added that Iran has prohibited Iranian passengers and pilgrims from visiting Iraqi cities, particularly the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, since two weeks ago for security reasons.

Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs late in October called on Iranians to postpone traveling to the neighboring country until further notice.

In a travel advisory issued on October 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Iranian travelers and pilgrims to put off traveling to Iraq in the wake of escalation of anti-government protests in the country.

In July, Iran’s economic charge d’affaires in Najaf, Aref Abbasi, announced that the number of Iraqi nationals visiting Iran is gaining momentum this year as the Islamic Republic endeavors to boost its tourism revenues in the face of U.S. sanctions.

Some two million Iraqi nationals visited Iran during the first seven months of the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20), constituting Iran’s largest source of inbound passengers. In return, hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims head for the holy Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala each year.

AFM/MG

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