Call to allow Iranian pilgrims triggers wave of criticism

(Photo: Wikipedia)
AMMAN – Social Media and news sites were flooded with responses to a call by the Royal reform committee to open the way for Iranian tourism in Jordan.اضافة اعلان

Zaid Al-Nabulsi, labelled as a liberal who has been recently appointed as a member of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System, was commenting on His Majesty King Abdullah's visit to the Shrines of the Prophet’s Companions in the Southern Mazar in Karak, on Saturday, and his prayer at Jaafar bin Abi-Talib Mosque before his visit to Baghdad to participate in a tripartite summit, along with Iraq and Egypt.

The early Islam war hero, who died in Mu’ta Battle between the Muslims and the Byzantines in 629AD, was the direct cousin of Prophet Mohammad and is revered by Muslims, especially Shiites.

Over the past decades, Jordan has blocked Iranian pilgrims’ visit to the shrine, citing security concerns.

Nabulsi said in his remarks that the decision “deprived” the Jordanian economy from billions in revenue, saying that half-a-million Iranian tourists would flock annually to Jordan if the ban is lifted and the money generated from that could be equal to money generated if Jordan discovered oil.

Jordan News tried to contact Nabulsi but he declined to comment.

The activist came under fire for his comment.

Bassam Omoush, a former minister and ambassador to Iran wrote that the two most important countries that Iran hopes to infiltrate are Jordan and Egypt, after countries like Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon fell under the Iranian influence to different degrees.

Omoush pointed out the Iranian doctrine of "exporting the revolution".

Speaking to Jordan News, Omoush said: “I said in front of the King 10 years ago that Jordan was threatened by two sides at the time: (Sunni) extremists and Shi'ism.

“The Iranians have clear interests, outwardly spreading Shiism, and deep down political influence,” charging that there have been underground Iranian schemes targeting Jordan’s security.

Omoush was one of many who criticized Nabulsi.

Sameeh Al-Maaitah, former minister of information and culture, tweeted: “The file of Iranian tourism to the shrines in Jordan has been settled since the nineties. Some see it as a door to increase the tourism revenues, but official authorities are convinced that it poses security risks and is a gateway to Iran’s penetration into Jordan, for sectarian and political purposes.”