Iraq has reopened a border crossing point with Iran after years to facilitate the Arbaeen pilgrimage to the Arab country.
The Khosravi border crossing was reopened on Friday during a ceremony attended by Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and his Iraqi counterpart Yassin al-Yassri.
During the ceremony, the Iranian minister said the Khosravi crossing would help pilgrims during Arba'een processions.
Located in the western province of Kermanshah, Khosravi is one of several border crossings between Iran and Iraq. It lies 180 km away from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The border crossing, which was closed for years due to security reasons, is expected to host a large number of Iranians planning to make a pilgrimage into Iraq this year.
In August, the Iranian and Iraqi interior ministers inked an agreement to reopen the border gate before the Arbaeen ritual ceremony.
Every year, millions of pilgrims converge on Iraq’s holy city of Karbala to commemorate Arba’een, the 40th day since the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam.
The occasion, known as the world’s largest annual Muslim pilgrimage, comes 40 days after Ashura, the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram when Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was martyred in the Battle of Karbala at the hands of the tyrant of the time, Yazid I, in the seventh century
Each year, Shia and Sunni pilgrims as well as those from other faiths gather in Iraq in the weeks leading to the day of Arba’een and stream towards Karbala on foot from other Iraqi cities, especially Najaf and Basra.
In recent years, Karbala has been host to between 10 and 20 million visitors during the event.
At least two million pilgrims have passed border checkpoints into Iraq from neighboring Iran.