Iraq Signs MoU to Assist Arbaeen Pilgrims

Iraq Signs MoU to Assist Arbaeen Pilgrims Iraq Signs MoU to Assist Arbaeen Pilgrims

Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran on Wednesday for cooperation in organizing the Arbaeen ceremony, the largest annual Shia gathering in the Arab country.

The MoU, which was signed by Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and his Iraqi counterpart Qasim al-Araji in Baghdad, will focus on ensuring adequate security arrangements. The multi-million annual mourning event has been threatened by extremist groups, IRNA reported.

Iraq hosts over two million Iranians every year for Arbaeen, a major Shia event marking the 40th day anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and his 72 family members and companions at the hands of the brutal ruler Yazid in 680.

Each year, Shias flock to the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH) in the holy city of Karbala in Iraq to participate in the mourning ceremonies.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qasemi told ISNA the two neighbors are finalizing an agreement that will require the Iraqi Embassy in Tehran to accept rials instead of dollars from people applying for a pilgrimage visa to attend the Arbaeen.

“Negotiations are in the final stages. Like last year, the Iraqi side has welcomed the agreement, which will facilitate the participation of Iranians in the Arbaeen ceremonies,” he said.

Iran has been wrestling with a currency crisis since April that has seen rial nose-dive to all-time lows.  

President Donald Trump in May decided to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and restore sanctions lifted under the historic agreement.

The first batch of sanctions went into effect in early August, targeting Iran’s purchase of the US dollar, inter alia.

International trade in dollars were already difficult because of the threat of tough US penalties hovering over any dollar-denominated Iran-related deal processed via the US financial system.

Tehran has been struggling for years to move away from the greenback and announced on April 9 a shift from dollar to euro as the official currency for foreign trade.


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