1st VP appreciates Iraq hosting Arbaeen pilgrims

TEHRAN, Nov. 20 (MNA) – Iran’s First VP Es'hagh Jahangiri has expressed gratitude to the government and nation of Iraq for their warm receiving of millions of Arbaeen pilgrims.

Speaking with Iraqi PM Haider al-Ebadi in a telephone conversation on Saturday evening, Iran’s First Vice-President Es’hagh Jahangiri made the remarks saying “Iraq’s king hosting of all pilgrims of Arbaeen, including Iranian ones, is worth appreciation.”

The official added that a committee has been formed in Iran to facilitate issues faced by Iranian pilgrims and existing weaknesses will be hopefully fixed in upcoming years for better holding of the massive event.

He also pointed to the improving ties between Tehran and Baghdad asserting “excellent developments have been made in bilateral relations between the two countries and Tehran-Baghdad ties will remain as a role model for neighboring countries.”

He also congratulated the victories obtained by the Iraqi army and people in the fight against terrorists reiterating “leading the military operation to dislodge ISIL terrorists from Mosul and its coincidence with Arbaeen procession, which is also well-managed, represents authority of the Iraqi government.”

Also at the phone conversation, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Ebadi said Iraqi army, police and popular forces are all present in the battle against Takfiri groups and the Iraqi army has reached the city of Mosul.

“Iraq attaches great importance to security of Mosul as a major city with a population on over 1.5 million,” said the Iraqi side noting that residents are encouraged to remain in their houses in order to prevent any humanitarian disaster.”

He maintained that ISIL terrorists were seeking to exploit people of Mosul as human shield; “Iraq forces will continue making advances until all Takfiri and ISIL members are forced out of the city.”

“Mosul marks the last base for ISIL,” underscored al-Ebadi expressing hope that Iraqi army and popular forces will overcome all terrorists.

He further referred to simultaneity of Mosul operation and Arbaeen procession commenting that Iraq had spared no effort to provide security to millions of pilgrims who traveled to Karbala from all around the world.

“Terrorists are after harming pilgrims though the Iraqi government has doubled efforts to maintain security and stability in holy cities.”

Iraq’s PM also voiced satisfaction towards the status quo as regards visa issuance noting that more than two million visas have so far been issued for Iranian pilgrims.

He further called for visits of senior officials of both sides as an effective means to achieve objectives pursued in bilateral ties between Tehran and Baghdad.

It is worth mentioning that Iran’s 1st VP Jahangiri left Tehran for Najaf on Sunday morning in order to attend the Arbaeen procession.

Upon arrival in Al Najaf International Airport, the Iranian official was welcomed by the Governor of Najaf Adnan al-Zurfi.

Es’hagh Jahangiri is accompanied by Iranian Minister of Sports and Youth Massoud Soltanifar, Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi as well as Deputy-FM for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari.

HA/3829000/3829139

News Code 121455

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