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Iran Asks Iraq to Call Off Compulsory PCR Test for Arbaeen Pilgrims

An Iranian official requested that Iraq facilitate the travel of 30,000 Iranian pilgrims for the Arbaeen event by abolishing the mandatory coronavirus tests upon arrival in Iraq and allowing them to return home by land.

In a meeting with Iraq’s ambassador to Tehran, director of an Iranian headquarters handling the Arbaeen pilgrimage called on the Baghdad government to facilitate the Arbaeen trips and reduce the costs of travel.

Considering that all of the Iranian pilgrims will be required to present the result of an official test for the coronavirus ahead of the trip, Tehran asks Baghdad to cancel the mandatory PCR tests at the airports of Iraq so that the pilgrims would not have to pay an extra $40, Hossein Zolfaqari added.

The Iranian official further expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to open the land border crossings for the return of the Arbaeen pilgrims with the purpose of reducing the travel costs, asking Iraq to consider the option.

Iraq has given its approval to the air travel of 30,000 Iranian passengers for this year’s Arbaeen rituals.

All Iranians permitted to travel to Iraq for the Arbaeen season will have to present a negative PCR test taken at most 72 hours before the trip, which must be made by plane.

The Iranian pilgrims will include the members of committees that have duties in Iraq as well as those who install pavilions and congregation halls in the Arab country every year to provide food, beverage, accommodation and medical services for the pilgrims.

Officials say the Iranian applicants certified to have received both doses of COVID vaccine and not suffering from any underlying illness will be allowed to go to Iraq for Arbaeen.

In 2020, Baghdad decided to bar all foreign pilgrims from visiting Iraq for the Arbaeen season due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Each year, millions of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.

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