In an effort to clamp down on the Iranian Pilgrimage Agency, which organizes Iranians' visits to the two holy Shi'ite cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq, the Provincial Council of Najaf has decided to levy $10 for an individual visa to be issued to Arabs and foreigners [primarily Iranians] who visit the holy places.
The money will be used to develop the tourism business in the city which has been dominated by the Iranian agency. For example, the Iranian agency determines where the Iranian visitors are accommodated and how much hotels can charge. The Iranian visitors are also served from a central kitchen run by the Iranian agency.
The Iraqis maintain the agreement signed with the Iranians is no longer compatible with the interests of Iraq and that the operation of a central kitchen for all Iranian visitors denies Iraqi workers employment opportunities.
Source: Uragency, January 24, 2010
Posted at: 2010-01-25