Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi (pictured) praised the Baghdad government’s move to remove visa restrictions for Iranian pilgrims visiting the Arab country during the Arbaeen season and said the Islamic Republic will do the same for the Iraqi nationals in the near future.
Speaking at a meeting of the Arbaeen Headquarters of the western province of Ilam on Tuesday, Masjedi hailed the recent reopening of the Khosravi border crossing and the removal of visa restrictions for Iranians during the Arbaeen season, which marks the 40th day of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.
He further said Iraqi nationals will soon be allowed to enter Iran without visas for 65 days.
To reciprocate Iraq’s move regarding visa-free travels for Iranian pilgrims, Iran plans to allow Iraqi nationals to enter the country without visas for 65 days as of October 24, he added.
Speaking on Monday, Hossein Zolfaqari, Iran’s deputy interior minister for security affairs, said three million pilgrims had crossed the country’s four borders with Iraq for Arbaeen pilgrimage by then.
This year, the four borders of Khosravi, Mehran, Chazzabeh, and Shalamcheh are open to the Arbaeen pilgrims.
Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.
Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites.
In August, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement in Tehran to reopen the Khosravi border crossing and remove visa restrictions for Iranian Arbaeen 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.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)