Arbaeen pilgrims will have full security in Iraq: Iran

Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization has dismissed concerns about lack of security for Arbaeen pilgrims in the wake of recent protests in Iraq, saying the processions will carry on in full security.

Alireza Rashidian said Saturday that Iranians are going to Iraq without having to worry about anything because the Arab neighbor has guaranteed full security.

He said thousands of people have already crossed the border via air or three key border crossings –Shalamche, Chazzabe and Mehran.

Rashidian said Iraqi officials had already secured all routes to the holy city of Karbala even though the Western media stated otherwise.

He said the Iraqi nation still remains extremely hospitable towards Imam Hussein’s pilgrims during the Arbaeen season.

According to the official, more than two million Iranians have already applied to travel to Iraq and the number is expected to reach three million in the coming days.

Arbaeen, the largest religious gathering in the world with roughly 20 million in attendance every year, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shia Imam.

Every year, a huge crowd of Shia travel to Iraq and walk the 80-kilometer distance between Najaf and Karbala. Sporadic protests have been reported in both cities days ahead of the event.