Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi called on the country’s nationals to avoid making pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia from a third country during the upcoming Hajj season due to the anti-Iran psychological atmosphere created by Riyadh.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Ohadi pointed to his recent talks with Saudi Hajj officials, saying that in the second round of the negotiations, Saudis followed the same “improper” approach they had adopted toward the issue of Iranians’ Hajj pilgrimage in the first round.
Regarding this year’s Hajj, Saudi authorities’ discrimination and hatred as well as their attempts to take political revenge have “reached a peak”, he said.
“This year, due to the psychological atmosphere against Iran created by the Saudis and (their) failure to provide consular services to Iranian pilgrims, it is not advisable for any (Iranian) nationals to go on Hajj pilgrimage from another country,” the official warned.
On May 24, an Iranian delegation traveled to Saudi Arabia at the official invitation of new Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten to hold the last-ditch talks with the Arab kingdom’s officials on the dispatch of Iranian pilgrims for the annual rituals in September.
Tehran had insisted in the talks that visas for Iranian pilgrims should be issued in Iran and that the safety of travelers to Saudi Arabia must be ensured, given the disaster in Mina that killed many pilgrims in the previous Hajj pilgrimage. However, Riyadh refused to accept Iran’s conditions.
More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina, near Mecca, during the Hajj pilgrimage.
The incident marked the worst ever tragedy during Hajj.