TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Baghdad has decided to bar all foreign pilgrims from visiting Iraq for this year’s Arbaeen season due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, an Iranian deputy minister said.

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Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Hossein Zolfaqari said he has been informed by Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad about the plans for the mourning rituals marking Arbaeen –the religious gathering in commemoration of the third Shiite Imam.

Iran’s envoy has quoted the Iraqi officials as saying that they would not allow any foreign pilgrims to visit Iraq for this year’s Arbaeen season considering the coronavirus restrictions, Zolfaqari added.

Each year, millions of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites 40 days after Ashura.