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  Updated: January 23, 2007

Iran pilgrims can visit Iraq on Ashura only by valid visas

By: Sheikh M Khurasani

TEHRAN, Iran: An Iranís official in Ilam said that no pilgrim would be allowed to cross Iranian borders into Iraq during the 9th and 10th of Moharram unless they hold valid passports, visas or documents.

talking to newsmen, Director of Hajj, Endowment and Charity Affairs Office in Ilam Province Ahmad Harandi said only those placed in the list of qualified applicants after undergoing necessary registration procedures at the provincial pilgrimage service centers will have the permission to enter Iraq to visit holy sites on the two days which mark the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Imam Hussein (AS).

Harandi cited insecurity and possible terrorist acts on the two days as the reasons for banning the pilgrims' visit to Iraq.

He said religious groups within framework of 200-member caravans have the permission to go to Iraq via Mehran international border in Ilam Province on the two days.

He added that 6,000 people on average cross Mehran international border in the south of western Ilam Province into Iraq daily for pilgrimage to the country's religious cities.

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