Source: Tehran Times
It is predicted that some two million Iranians to travel to Iraq to mark Arbaeen, Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Hossein Zolfaqari said, Mehr reported on Wednesday. Arbaeen ritual marks the 40th day following the seventh-century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
Mourners in Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala in December 2014 (photo by ISNA)
So far about 900,000 people have registered to visit Karbala. Officials have announced only those will be allowed to visit Karbala who carry a visa.
The Iranian Interior Minister said on Wednesday that pilgrims' visa should be valid for at least six months.
Zolfaqari, who is also in charge of managing the trip to Karbala, reiterated that all the pilgrims should get a visa to be allowed to cross the border.
"Currently 15 bureau of consular affairs issue visas five of which issue 300 visas a day," he told a press conference.
He added, "All pilgrims should pay toll before leaving the country."
Zolfaqari said in case any pilgrims get lost in Iraq they will be turned in to border officials instead of being sent to prisons in Iraq.
"The Iraqi government has assured pilgrims' safety and is directly in charge and we will surely help them should they need any," He pointed out.
The official called on pilgrims to avoid visiting Samarra, saying the road to the shrine city, which is 125 kilometers north of Baghdad, is not safe enough. However, he said travelling to other cities is not dangerous.
Zolfaqari also said, "Surely there would be shortcomings as transporting hundreds of people is not easy to manage and pilgrims should not have high expectations. They should tactfully manage their trip themselves and arrange a 10-day trip to avoid any complications."
Pilgrims will be granted both health and accident insurances and insurance representatives will be in Iraq's hospitals to offer services to pilgrims, he explained.
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