Visas issued for Iranian diplomatic delegation to Hajj rituals: Minister
Iran’s Culture Minister Reza Salehi Amiri says visas have been issued for members of an Iranian diplomatic delegation to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj rituals after Tehran boycotted the pilgrimage last year amid tensions with Riyadh.
There is no problem for members of the Foreign Ministry’s delegation to be stationed in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Salehi Amiri told IRNA on Monday.
“All necessary preparations for this year’s Hajj have been made and we hope that we will witness a calm and dignified Hajj given the promises made by Saudi Arabia,” he said.
He anticipated successful Hajj rituals for Iranians with regard to all strategies drawn up by the Islamic Republic.
Iran on Sunday flied a first group of its pilgrims for Hajj in Saudi Arabia since the kingdom ruptured diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic and withheld cooperation towards enabling Iranians to attend the rituals.
Riyadh cut its ties with Tehran in early 2016 after violent protests in front of its Iran-based diplomatic missions against the kingdom’s earlier execution of leading Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. It then prevented Iranians from joining the religiously-momentous rituals that year by refusing to set up an ad hoc mechanism enabling their travel to the kingdom.
A year earlier, a deadly human crush had occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, killing thousands of pilgrims, including hundreds of Iranians. The incident had also cast doubt on the kingdom’s efficiency in hosting the rituals.
In January, however, Iran said it had been sent an invite by Saudi Arabia announcing the latter’s willingness to host Iranian pilgrims.
Earlier in July, Salehi Amiri said Riyadh had provided “written assurances” that it would meet all of Tehran’s conditions with regard to ensuring security for Iranian pilgrims in the upcoming Hajj ceremony.