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February 23, 2020 1:44 pm

Iraq Extends Ban on Border Crossings By Iranians

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

An Iraqi medical staff member checks a passenger’s temperature, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, upon her arrival to Shalamcha Border Crossing between Iraq and Iran, February 20, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani.

Iraq has extended an entry ban for any non-Iraqis coming from Iran, the prime minister said, as authorities in Tehran announced 15 more cases of coronavirus and a death toll of eight.

Baghdad had banned crossings by non-Iraqis from Iran on Thursday for three days and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Saturday night that the ban would be extended. He did not specify until when.

“The prime minister ordered the … halting of receiving travelers from the Islamic Republic of Iran except for Iraqis,” his office said in a statement.

Neighboring Iraq and Iran, both home to Shi’ite Muslim majorities, share close religious, political, and trade ties. Iran has suspended religious pilgrimage trips to Iraq. Iraqi Airways suspended flights to Iran.

Iraq’s health ministry said it had detected no cases in the country.

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