Iran closes several border crossings with Iraq

Iran has closed several border crossings with Iraq ahead of the Shi'ite holy day of Ashoura, the country's state television reported Sunday. The report, citing the government in Teheran, said the crossings were closed to "contain the large number of pilgrims" bound for the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala in southern Iraq who were planning to cross into Iraq without "legal documents." No other details were given but the report indicated that not all border crossings had been closed and that some pilgrims were allowed through elsewhere. Meanwhile, in Iraq, a source with the Iraqi border forces said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media, that the closures involved the border checkpoint of Sheeb, in Maysan province, and the Shalamjaa border checkpoint in Basra province.