Border Control Agreement With Iraq

Border Control Agreement With IraqBorder Control Agreement With Iraq

Iran and Iraq signed a border control agreement in Tehran on Tuesday, in a bid to enhance security and fight terrorism.  

"We believe that cooperation in border areas will lead to increased security," Commander of Iran's Border Police General Qasem Rezaei said on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, IRNA reported.

The agreement was concluded during the 7th Iran-Iraq Joint Border Meeting, which was attended by Iraqi Border Commander Brigadier General Hamed Aabdullah Ibrahim al-Hosseini.

It calls for the exchange of information, combating insurgents, terrorist groups and smugglers and preventing illegal border crossings.

Ibrahim al-Hosseini said the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which suffered a major territorial defeat in Iraq last year, highlighted the need for closer collaboration in border areas to deter security threats.

  Shared Waters

Rezaei said there are agreements between Tehran and Baghdad on shared waters, which are being followed up by the two states.

"In the maritime field, there have been attacks against merchant shipping and piracy over the past years. Today, we exchanged views on this issue. There has been close coordination between Iranian and Iraqi border guards over the past two years."

  Arbaeen Ceremonies

He added that Iranian and Iraqi authorities have been coordinating efforts to ensure security ahead of the Arbaeen religious commemoration in the Arab country—one of the largest annual gatherings of Muslims.  

Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) grandson and the Third Imam of Shia Muslims, Imam Hussein (PBUH) in 680. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims from around the world, including Iran, descend on Iraqi city of Karbala for the pilgrimage, which falls on October 30 this year.

  Border Crossing

Rezaei hailed Baghdad's efforts to assure the safety of those who attend the ritual and said Iran is ready to open the Khosravi border crossing, which lies northeast of Baghdad, to facilitate the travel of pilgrims.  However, the necessary infrastructure should be provided by the Iraqi government, he said.

In recent years, border crossing has been intermittently closed over security concerns after a number of terrorist incidents targeted Iranian pilgrims on their way to religious sites in Iraq.

According to official Iraqi figures, about 14 million people, including 2 million from Iran, traveled to Iraq last year to participate in the Arbaeen ceremonies.


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