Iraq religious tourism squeezed by Iran sanctions | 2018-08-17 |

Iraq religious tourism squeezed by Iran sanctions

    17 August, 2018 12:00 AM printer

NAJAF: With hotels facing mass cancellations, Iraqis in the holy city of Najaf are being hit hard by US sanctions on neighbouring Iran, which have forced cash-strapped pilgrims to stay home.

At the city's edge, surrounded by mosaic-covered walls and topped by a golden dome, sits the shrine of Imam Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed and a revered figure among Shiite Muslims, reports AFP.

The shrine draws a million and a half Shiite pilgrims to Najaf each year, in addition to those who travel to the holy city for the huge annual Arbaeen commemoration.

The vast majority hail from neighbouring Iran, whose population is overwhelmingly Shiite.