Pandemic conditions dictate cancellation of Arbaeen rituals this year: Official
Tehran Head of Arbaeen Central Headquarters says that both Iranian and Iraqi governments are eager to hold Arbaeen rituals but health protocols due to COVID19 pandemic have persuaded them to postpone them.
Hossein Zolfaqari made the remarks at Arbaeen Central Headquarters meeting held in Tehran on Saturday.
He dismissed some claims that there were political reasons behind this decision and said no plan has been set for this year's Arbaeen rituals as the government attaches great importance to people's lives.
Since its outbreak in December 2019 worldwide, the deadly coronavirus has postponed many world events and meetings as it has killed over 956,000 in different countries.
Zolfaqari urged pilgrims not to go to borders because the Iraqi government will not let them enter the country [due to following health protocols].
Iran has joint border crossings with Iraq in west and southwest of the country.
Each year, millions of pilgrims, mainly from Iraq and Iran, travel long routes on foot to Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS)- the third Imam of Shia Muslims- is located.
As the official said, Iranian Foreign Ministry, Iran's Embassy in Iraq and Arbaeen Central Headquarters are following up the issue.
However, he urged pilgrims not to try to stage Arbaeen rally.
Further, he called on people to understand the country's conditions and not heed to rumors about holding rallies.
At the end of his remarks, Zolfaqari said Arbaeen rituals will be held in the open air across Iran while all health protocols and regulations will be followed up like what was done in Day of Ashura, day of martyrdom of Imam Hussein.
The Arbaeen procession is one of the largest religious ceremony being held in Iraq every year, but the event is called off this year due to the pandemic.
Arbaeen marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the second grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA