Iran Cancels Hajj Due to Saudi Obstacles

Iran Cancels Hajj Due to Saudi ObstaclesIran Cancels Hajj Due to Saudi Obstacles

Iran said it will not take part in this year's hajj pilgrimage in Mecca because of "obstacles" created by Saudi Arabia.

"Performing the hajj ritual this year is virtually impossible," Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said on Sunday, Press TV reported.

"Given the treatment that the Iranian delegation received during two rounds of talks and the obstacles created by the Saudis, Iranian pilgrims unfortunately cannot go to hajj this year," he said.

Jannati said the Iranian delegates were very concerned about the safety of Iranian pilgrims after last year's disaster in Mina, where thousands of people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.

The minister said Tehran currently cannot provide Iranian pilgrims with diplomatic support in Saudi Arabia.

"My interpretation is that the Saudi government deliberately prevented Iranian citizens from attending this year's hajj pilgrimage. It was hence necessary to clearly declare our stance," he said.

On Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari censured Riyadh for "wasting time" for the Iranian pilgrims planning to perform the ritual this year.

"If hajj is not observed, Saudi Arabia is to be held accountable," Ansari said in an interview with state television.

He said the Saudi government is now tying hajj to "political relations".