The Iranian Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Sayyid Ali Khamenei, has said that the nations of Iran and Iraq are connected through faith, and that enemy plots seeking to sow discord between the two will fail.
“Iran and Iraq are two nations whose hearts & souls are tied together through faith in God, love for Imam Hussein and the progeny of the Prophet (PBUH). This bond will grow stronger day by day,” the Leader’s official Twitter account cited Khamenei as saying on Sunday.
“Enemies seek to sow discord, but they have failed, and their conspiracy will not be effective,” the tweet added.
The Leader’s remarks comes as millions of pilgrims from Iraq, Iran and around the world are preparing to travel to the holy Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala to attend Arba’een, marking the 40th day after the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), who was martyred in the Battle of Karbala.
The gathering usually attracts more than 20 million participants every year, making it one of the largest gatherings of human beings worldwide.
Iraqis take pride in hosting pilgrims participating in Arba’een, many of whom are from Iran. The event has consequently turned into a symbol of unity between the people of the two countries who deeply venerate Imam Hussein.
The comments of the Iranian Leader come against the backdrop of several days of protests against mismanagement and corruption in Iraq, with certain demonstrations descending into violence and bloody clashes.
Speaking on Sunday, Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Sa’ad Ma’an Mousavi said a total of 104 people have lost their lives as a result of the unrest.
“More than another 6,000 have also been injured,” he added.
Iraqi officials have claimed that “unidentified snipers” have shot at both protesters and security forces in a bid to provoke clashes between the two. Video footage of the shootings have surfaced on the internet, showing both sides taking casualties.
Some Arab media outlets and observers have said that US-backed elements are trying to influence protests in a bid to create instability and push certain political agendas in the country.
Last week, Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Akhbar reported that Iraqi security sources have uncovered a US-backed plan seeking to install a pro-Washington government in Baghdad, by provoking internal strife and instability in the country.
The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel have already used the protests in Iraq as a cause to blame the Islamic Republic of Iran for Iraq’s internal issues.
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