AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Since the resumption of air travels to Iraq a few months ago, some 80,000 Iranian pilgrims have visited the Arab country by air, an official said.
Hojat-ol-Islam Sohbatollah Rahmani, a deputy of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, added that sending pilgrims to Iraq used to be done by one company before but now there is no monopoly and all pilgrimage offices can register and dispatch those willing to visit the holy cities in Iraq.
He stressed that all pilgrimage offices must operate under the supervision of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization.
The official also noted that traveling to Iraq via land borders has restarted and Iranian pilgrims are no longer required to obtain visas to go to the Arab country either.
Earlier this month, Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced the resumption of sending pilgrims to Iraq via land borders.
He said 2,500 pilgrims would travel to the Arab country daily at first and the number will gradually rise to 15,000.
Every year millions of Iranians travel to Iraq’s holy cities, including Najaf, Karbala and Samarra to visit the holy shrines in those cities.
The number of the pilgrims rises significantly during the Arbaeen season.
The Arbaeen mourning ceremony is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.
It marks the 40th day after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Imam Hussein (AS). This year’s Arbaeen falls on September 17.
Each year, a huge crowd of Shias flock to Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites.
The pilgrims, mainly from Iraq and Iran, travel long routes on foot to the holy city.