Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization has dismissed concerns over the security of Arbaeen pilgrims in the wake of recent unrest in a number of Iraqi cities, saying Iranians are travelling to the Arab country without any problem as Iraq has ensured full security along the routes to Karbala.
In remarks on Saturday, Alireza Rashidian said the recent protests in Iraq have not hampered the dispatch of pilgrims visiting Iraq to pay tribute to Imam Hussein (PBUH).
The Iranian travelers are going to Iraq by plane or via three land border crossings –Shalamche, Chazzabe and Mehran—without any trouble, he added.
Rashidian noted that Iraq has fully ensured security of the pilgrims along the routes to Karbala, stressing that the situation is normal in spite of the wrong reports by the “hostile and Western” media about the recent unrest in Iraq.
He emphasized that the Western media campaign has not had any impact on the Iraqi people’s hospitality during the Arbaeen season.
According to the official, more than two million Iranians have applied to travel to Iraq for Arbaeen as of Saturday.
Last week, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said the number of Iranian pilgrims visiting Iraq for Arbaeen was expected to reach three million.
Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.
Every year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH) is located, to perform mourning rites.