IFP – About 2.5 million Iranians are expected to take part in this year’s Arba’een pilgrimage, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, in the holy city of Karbala in Iraq, according to an official.
Mohsen Nezafati, a senior Iranian pilgrimage official, said last year 2 million Iranians took part in the Arba’een pilgrimage “but this year, we estimate the number will reach 2.5m.”
According to a Farsi report by ISNA, he called Arba’een pilgrimage the largest gathering of the world’s Shiite Muslims and added besides its spiritual aspect, Arba’een pilgrimage serves as a massive political maneuver.
“Given the Takfiri terrorists’ active presence in the region over the past years, Arba’een pilgrimage has gained more momentum,” he added.
The Iranian official went on saying that the presence of such a large number of Iranians in Arba’een pilgrimage each year is not possible without close cooperation between Iran and Iraq.
The Iranian consulate in Karbala also called on the Iranian pilgrims to avoid any wayward move during the pilgrimage and asked them to sign up for the pilgrimage through the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization’s website.
The Iranian official also urged the pilgrims to prepare their passports and visas earlier, saying no one is allowed to pass through Iraqi borders without passports and visas.
He finally called on the pilgrims to remain patient during the pilgrimage, saying they have to put up with some logistical shortcomings because offering full services to all pilgrims is impossible during the massive pilgrimage.
Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites of Arba’een.
Last year, the total number of pilgrims going to Karbala for Arba’een reached 20 million.