Iraq to double Iranians’ visa quota for Arbaeen ritual

September 10, 2021 - 17:59

TEHRAN – Iraq has doubled its previously declared visa quota for the Iranian nationals willing to attend the Arbaeen pilgrimage.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is scheduled to visit the Islamic Republic in near future, has recently approved to grant “another 30,000 visas” to Iranian pilgrims, ISNA reported on Friday.

“Given the importance of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Iraqi government, as well as the inseparable friendship and unity of the two nations, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has granted 30,000 visas to Iranian pilgrims in addition to another 30,000 visas which was previously dedicated to the friendly neighbor,” the news agency quoted a high-ranking Iraqi official.

Last week, the Iraqi Higher Committee for Health & National Safety announced that country would be hosting some 30,000 Iranian pilgrims for the religious ritual. Furthermore, the committee said in a statement that, in addition to 30,000 Iranian pilgrims, a total of 10,000 pilgrims will also be accepted from Arab countries and the rest of the world.

It clarified in a statement that the pilgrims have to travel to Iraq only through the country's international airports. The pilgrims can travel to Iraq provided that they hold a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival in the country, the statement said.

Iran asks Iraq to ease tests on arrival

An Iranian official has requested that Iraq facilitate the travel of Iranian pilgrims for the Arbaeen event by abolishing the mandatory coronavirus tests upon arrival in Iraq and allowing them to return home by land, Tasnim reported on Wednesday.

In a meeting with Iraq’s ambassador to Tehran, the director of an Iranian headquarters handling the Arbaeen pilgrimage called on the Baghdad government to facilitate the Arbaeen travels and reduce the costs of travel.

“Considering that all of the Iranian pilgrims will be required to present the result of an official test for the coronavirus ahead of the trip, Tehran asks Baghdad to cancel the mandatory PCR tests at the airports of Iraq so that the pilgrims would not have to pay an extra $40,” Hossein Zolfaqari added.

The Iranian official further expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to open the land border crossings for the return of the Arbaeen pilgrims to reduce the travel costs, ask Iraq to consider the option.

All Iranians permitted to travel to Iraq for the Arbaeen season will have to present a negative PCR test taken at most 72 hours before the trip, which must be made by plane.

In 2020, Baghdad decided to bar all foreign pilgrims from visiting Iraq for the Arbaeen season due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The annual Arbaeen pilgrimage, aka Arbaeen trek, is a characteristic spiritual exercise in which hundreds of thousands of Shia and Sunni Muslims, even Christians and Zoroastrians, etc. from various nationalities participate.

The religious treks will be destined to Karbala, where Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is laid to rest.

The event marks an end to the 40-day mourning period following the martyrdom of the Imam and his loyal companions at the Battle of Karbala on Muharram 10 in the year 61 AH (680 CE).


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