TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The religious processions marking Arbaeen would not be held in Iran and Iraq this year because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday.

– Politics news –

In comments at a meeting of the Coronavirus Fight National Headquarters, Rouhani said Iraq would not allow any pilgrims to visit the Arab country this year for the mourning rituals marking Arbaeen –the religious gathering in commemoration of the third Shiite Imam (AS).

The situation in Iraq after the outbreak of the pandemic is not good and Iran should help its neighbor, the president said.

He also made it clear that the Arbaeen processions will not be held either in Iraq or in Iran this year, stressing that the mourning rituals must observe the health protocols.  

Last month, Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Hossein Zolfaqari said Baghdad has decided to bar all foreign pilgrims from visiting Iraq for this year’s Arbaeen season in the wake of the pandemic.

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.