3 million pilgrims cross Iran’s border with Iraq for Arbaeen: Official

Tasnim – Iran’s deputy interior minister for security affairs said so far, three million pilgrims have crossed the country’s four borders with Iraq during the Arbaeen season, which marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.

Speaking during a visit to the western province of Ilam on Monday, Hossein Zolfaqari pointed to the latest situation of Iran’s border with Iraq and said there have been no security problems.

He further said three million people have left Iran for Iraq or returned to the country via the four border crossings, adding that 60 percent of them have opted for the Mehran border crossing.

The official went on to say that Iran’ talks with Iraq are underway to facilitate the return of two million Iranians who are now in the Arab country.

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.