Tehran to hold Riyadh accountable if this year’s Hajj is not observed
The Saudi Arabian government has “blocked all the paths” for Iran to negotiate details of this year’s Hajj.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari censured Riyadh Saturday for “wasting the time” for the Iranian pilgrims planning to carry out the religious duty this year.
“Unless Hajj is observed, Saudi Arabia is to be held accountable,” said the spokesman on Iranian national television late on Saturday.
Ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been tense since Tehran strongly condemned of the kingdom’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January.
Riyadh later severed diplomatic relations with Tehran following attacks on two vacant Saudi missions in Iran by angry protesters.
Ansari (pictured below) argued that the Saudi government is now tying Hajj to “political relations.”
“Saudi envisages itself in confrontation with Iran and has based its policy on seeking tension,” he said. “What we see is Saudi’s attempt to heighten tensions, [while] it’s the Saudis that should take on hosting duties as the government hosting Hajj.”
Instead, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman argued, Riyadh is neglecting its responsibility to assure the “security and safety of pilgrims” as well as “consular support” for them.
On Friday, Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi returned to Tehran from the second round of negotiations in Saudi Arabia at the head of a delegation.
Thousands of lives were lost in the deadly 2015 crush during the Hajj rituals in Mina, which outraged Muslims around the globe, holding the Saudi government responsible.