Iran Praises Iraq for Hosting Arbaeen Pilgrims

In a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein on Friday, Hossein Amirabdollahian appreciated the hospitality of the Iraqi people and government during the Arbaeen pilgrimage ceremonies.

He said Iraqis were giving Iranian and non-Iranian pilgrims to Arbaeen all possible help despite the huge crowds attending the mourning event, the restrictions and the extreme heat.

Amirabdollahian also pointed to the presence of avid pilgrims in the Iraqi holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, calling on Iranians to seriously abide by the directives of Arbaeen Headquarters and the Iranian Interior Ministry.

On Friday morning, Iran closed all land border crossings used by pilgrims to travel to Iraq following a massive influx of travelers and growing concerns about their health.

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said large numbers of pilgrims have flocked to the land borders since Thursday, while Iraq lacks the capacity to allow them to enter.

The minister also called on Iranian pilgrims planning to travel to Iraq to postpone their departure and refrain from heading to the border until further notice.

The high temperatures, the shortage of means of transport in Iraq and the difficulties of access to drinking water have exposed many pilgrims to sunstroke in the border areas.

Iranian officials have predicted that a total of five million pilgrims will visit Iraq during this year’s Arbaeen season.

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