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Exit Routes to Iraq Shut to Iranian Pilgrims

All land border crossings used by the Iranian pilgrims for traveling to Iraq have been closed temporarily following a massive influx of travelers and growing concerns about their health, Iranian officials said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at Mehran border crossing in Iran’s western province of Ilam on Friday, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said a huge number of pilgrims have flocked to the land borders since yesterday, while Iraq lacks the necessary capacities to allow them entry.

Since a huge crowd of pilgrims would be stranded behind the exit gates in Iran in hot weather, the concerns about the health of people resulted in the decision to shut the border crossings, he said.

The minister also called on the Iranian pilgrims who have plans to travel to Iraq to postpone their departure and refrain from heading for border until further notice.

High temperatures, a shortage of means of transportation in Iraq, and difficulty in access to drinking water have exposed many pilgrims to sunstroke in the border areas.

Iranian officials have predicted that a total of five million pilgrims will travel to Iraq during this year’s Arbaeen season.

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