Iran and Iraq have signed a major memorandum of understanding on handling the Arbaeen season that would see more than 2.5 million Iranian pilgrims travelling to Iraq, an Iranian official said.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Hossein Zolfaqari, director of an Iranian headquarters set up for Arbaeen, said Tehran and Baghdad have signed a major document on the Arbaeen pilgrimage season which provides a basis for the two countries’ joint measures and involves 9 articles covering all issues regarding the pilgrimage.
He said 29 Iranian organizations and 12 committees in Iraq are making arrangements for the religious event.
Zolfaqari further referred to the measures already taken to facilitate this year’s Arbaeen pilgrimage, saying that 84 kilometers of new main roads have been constructed and that the Khosravi border crossing in western Iran has been equipped with 60 new gates.
A new drinking water pipeline has been constructed in Chazzabeh border crossing with the daily capacity of serving 300,000 people, he said, adding that the number of certified pavilions along the procession road to Karbala has reached 1,945.
The pilgrims travelling from Najaf to Karabala on foot could enjoy Internet access, the official also said.
He finally warned the Iranian travelers not to go to Iraq without a valid visa, saying illegal crossing would carry a punishment of up to 6 months in prison.
Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.
Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites.
This year’s Arbaeen falls on October 30.