Iran shuts border to Iraq due to overflow of pilgrims for Arbaeen

Iran has shut down all land border crossings to Iraq used by pilgrims due to the massive volume of people crossing the border for the Shia holiday season of Arbaeen, officials said on Friday, September 9.

The Interior Minister of Iran, Ahmad Vahidi, said Iraq did not have the capacity to allow such a large influx of pilgrims across the border and Iranians would be stranded in hot-weather conditions, according to Tasnim News Agency.
Vahidi said the decision to shut the border temporarily was made out of concern for the health of pilgrims, who could suffer from a lack of drinking water and sunstroke.
According to reports Iraq itself had earlier made the decision to close two main crossings on Thursday, while Iran had assured travelers the situation was under control and that there was coordination with Iraq.
Iran's officials have estimated five million pilgrims will head to Iraq for Arbaeen this year, according to Tasnim. The interior minister has requested pilgrims delay their travel plans for the time being.
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