Iran prepares to welcome Iraqi sightseers, pilgrims  

November 24, 2021 - 21:0

TEHRAN – Iran is getting prepared to welcome more Iraqi sightseers, pilgrims, and medical travelers.

"We are trying to re-organize and facilitate the arrival of potential Iraqi tourists who want to visit our country for various purposes including pilgrimage, medical treatment, and health," the deputy tourism minister said on Tuesday.

"The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts seeks to introduce Iraqi travelers to further lesser-known destinations and help increase their stay duration," ISNA quoted Ali-Reza Shalbafian as saying on Tuesday.

Shalbafian made the remarks during a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, adding "Our main approach is to ease visa restrictions."

Tehran and Baghdad in September agreed to ease tough visa restrictions as a step forward in broadening bilateral relations.

The announcement came after Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met in Tehran, discussing various issues including visa waiver, a joint railway project, and increasing the level of trade.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Iraqi constituted Iran’s largest source of tourists. In return, hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims head for the holy Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala each year to attend the Arbaeen pilgrimage, aka the Arbaeen trek, to mark an end to the 40-day mourning period following the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).


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