Travel agencies in Iraq’s holy city of al-Najaf have decided to stop providing services to Iranian tourists, local media reported on Thursday.
Fadhil al-Sayigh, General Manager of Al-Rafidain for Tourism, told Al-Sumaria News TV that his company and two others, Al-Atyaf and Al-Manar, have vowed to stop transporting Iranian visitors to Iraq starting Saturday due to charges and fees reaching up to $100 million not paid yet by Iranians to local businesses, hotels and restaurants.
According to Sayigh, Iranians want to pay Iraqis with their local currency which has drastically depreciated against the U.S. dollar, leaving Iraqis no room to profit.
Early October, Iran’s rial has plunged by 20 percent against the U.S. dollar due to the sanctions imposed against the Islamic republic by the United States and the European Union.
Najaf, which has holy sites highly revered by Shiites, has more than 190 hotels, and receives almost 5,000 Iranians visitors mainly for religious tourism purposes on a daily basis, Al-Sumaria News said.