Iraq allows air travel for 30k Arbaeen pilgrims from Iran

Iraq allows air travel for 30k Arbaeen pilgrims from Iran

Iraq has finally decided on health regulations governing this year’s Arbaeen pilgrimage as authorities say only 30,000 pilgrims from Iran will be allowed to visit holy shrines in the Arab country later this month.

A report by Iran’s semi-official Fars News agency on Sunday said that western land borders to Iraq will remain closed during days before and after Arbaeen which falls on September 27 this year and marks the 40th day since the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The report said that Iraq would only allow Iranian air passengers who can submit negative coronavirus test results.

Earlier reports had suggested that Iraq might relax restrictions on Arbaeen pilgrimage this year after two periods of closures because of the spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East.

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Millions of Iranians use the Arbaeen occasion to pay respect to the holy shrines of Shia Imams and other religious sites in Iraq. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from other countries also use Iranian roads to travel to Iraq to attend the ceremony.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi and other officials had indicated last week that Iraq might allow Iranian pilgrims to visit the country based on their records of vaccination against the coronavirus.

Iranian health authorities have promised they will ramp up vaccinations against the disease by offering nearly one million shots per day in the upcoming weeks. Nearly a fourth of the country’s population of 84 million have received vaccines, including millions who have been fully vaccinated.

Authorities hope the inoculation campaign can help restore normalcy to the Iranian economy, including to the religious tourism sector which employs hundreds of thousands of people.

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