Iran Insists on Sending Pilgrims to Hajj: Official
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran is still insistent that its nationals should be able to make this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi said, deploring Saudi Arabia for its muted response and inaction on the case.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency on Sunday, Ohadi said Iran is standing firm in its decision to deploy Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, since making the pilgrimage is a religious duty and an inalienable right of Iranian Muslims.
However, he added, Saudi Arabian officials’ conduct imply that they are not willing to let Iranians make the pilgrimage.
Saudi officials have not still made any comments on how Iranians are going to get visas and what measures will be taken to ensure their security, he noted.
Ohadi explained that while time is running out for making the necessary preparations for sending pilgrims to Hajj, the Saudi side has not done anything to address the remaining issues.
Iran insists that the safety of travelers to Saudi Arabia must be ensured, given the disaster in Mina that killed many Iranian pilgrims in Last year’s Hajj.
More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina, near Mecca.
The incident marked the worst ever tragedy during Hajj.
There have been doubts about participation of Iranian pilgrims in the 2016 Hajj since tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia ran high following Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and a subsequent attack by outraged Iranian protesters on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which resulted in the Arab country’s decision to sever its ties with the Islamic Republic.
Although Iranian officials criticized the embassy attack and those involved in the attack have been brought to justice, Saudi Arabia has cut off all diplomatic relations with Iran.