Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian says Tehran is trying to convince the Iraqi government to further increase the visa quota for Iranian pilgrims to participate in Arbaeen ceremonies while observing Covid health protocols.
Amir Abdollahian however said another million-strong march on the shrine of Imam Hussein is impossible due to the strict Covid restrictions and the need to protect the health of pilgrims.
Local media soures say, Iraq had earlier increased the visa quota for Iranians from 40 thousand to 80 thousand upon orders from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi.
This came after Iranian government officials held talks with the Iraqis over the matter. Iraq has capped the number of visas for foreign pilgrims participating in the Arbaeen ceremonies lest they should bring about a super spreader event amid the Covid pandemic. Arbaeen marks the 40th day after the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein at the battle of Karbaka by the army of tyrant of the time Yazid. Each year, millions of Iranians participate in Arbaeen mourning ceremonies in the Iraqi city of Karbala.