Shafaq News/ The Commander of Iran's Quds Force, Major General Ismail Qaani, on Sunday highlighted the enduring significance of the Arbaeen pilgrimage, attributing it to the sacrifices made by Qassem Soleimani, his predecessor, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a former commander of Iraq's al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces-PMF).
In a speech he delivered before a group of Iraqi volunteers who participated in organizing the annual event, Qaani commended the Iraqi people, describing them as "devout Muslims".
"Our Iraqi brothers host the visitors of Imam Hussein, and it is incumbent upon us to stand alongside them in providing services to these pilgrims," Iran's Mehr News quoted the commander.
Qaani also recounted his meeting with the governor of Karbala, whom he praised as a "man of faith".
The governor reportedly shared a conversation with a Western diplomat who expressed amazement at how the Iraqi government could ensure security for the millions of pilgrims.
The governor, according to Qaani, responded by saying, "It is not us who provide security for these millions; rather, it is our living absent Imam," referring to the Twelfth Shiite Imam, Imam al-Mahdi.
Qaani asserted that General Qassem Soleimani was among those who paved the way for the Arbaeen pilgrimage. He also mentioned the emergence of the ISIS organization in Iraq, remarking, "Given the incidents witnessed in this country, if it were not for the presence of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with the sacrifices they made, we would not witness the massive processions on the day of Imam Hussein's Arbaeen."
He continued by acknowledging the extraordinary efforts of the Iraqi people in combating extremists and enemies of the "genuine Islamic faith", working alongside figures like Soleimani, "who was regarded as a dedicated brother to the Iraqi people".
"Their significant roles", he noted, "contributed to the realization of the Muslim Iraqi people's objectives."