Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has made an unofficial visit to neighboring Iraq to take part in the mourning ritual of Arbaeen, the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.
Jahangiri arrived at Imam Ali (AS) Airport in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf on Wednesday morning, and was welcomed by a number of Iraqi political and security officials, including the country’s deputy interior minister.
He is accompanied in this one-day trip by the Iranian Interior Minister Aboldreza Rahmani Fazli, Police Commander Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, and Head of Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi.
Millions of devoted Shiite Muslims have converged on the Iraqi holy city of Karbala to hold mourning rituals marking Arbaeen.
The pilgrims are from over 60 countries and most of them have marched all the way to Karbala from cities like Najaf and Baghdad in a show of devotion.
Arbaeen, which is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS).
Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform the mourning rites.
Last year, the number of pilgrims going to Karbala for Arbaeen reached 20 million.