Analyst Raps Riyadh for Politicizing Hajj
- May, 30, 2016 - 14:06
- Society/Culture news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A Lebanese political expert lashed out at Saudi Arabia for pursuing political objectives in Hajj arrangements, after Tehran’s announcement that Riyadh’s continued obstructionism deprived Iranian pilgrims of this year’s Hajj.
“I believe that Saudi Arabia prefers political issues to (facilitating) Hajj,” Tallal Etrisi, a Lebanese university professor and Middle East expert, told the Tasnim News Agency on Monday.
He also criticized the Riyadh regime for not making an apology to the families of the victims of last year’s deadly crush of pilgrims near Mecca, stressing that Saudis need to give guarantees about the safety of Hajj pilgrims.
In a statement on Sunday, Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced that Iranians have no chance of making a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for the upcoming Hajj season any more, placing the blame squarely on Saudi officials for “continued obstructionism” and politicizing the religious ritual.
Iran insisted 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 were already 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.