TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s ambassador to Iraq expressed gratitude to the Arab country for hosting over two million Iranian pilgrims during this year’s Arbaeen season.

In a message on behalf of the Iranian nation and government, Iraqj Masjedi thanked Iraq’s people and government for “magnanimously hosting Iran’s” pilgrims and “holding the magnificent Arbaeen ceremony”.

He added that it demonstrated the “unmatched unity between the two great nations”.

Millions of people from across the world, including more than two million Iranians, converged on the Iraqi holy city of Karbala Tuesday for the Day of Arbaeen.

Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam, 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 mourning rites.

On Tuesday, Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri also expressed his gratitude to the people and government of Iraq for hosting Iranian pilgrims visiting the Arab country during the Arbaeen season, and said the event has “opened the gate” for closer ties between the two nations.

“The opportunity provided by the presence of millions of Iranian pilgrims in Iraq has many financial and spiritual effects,” Jahangiri said at a meeting with the governor general of Iraq’s Najaf Province, Sayyed Jawad al-Yaseri.

 “The spiritual ceremonies and marches marking Arbaeen have opened the gate for more mutual understanding and friendship between the two nations of Iran and Iraq,” he added.