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85,000 Iranians to Go to Hajj

85,000 Iranians to Go to Hajj 85,000 Iranians to Go to Hajj

Despite the absence of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, an estimated 85,000 Iranian will make the hajj pilgrimage this year.

“The two countries have agreed to deal with the issue of hajj regardless of political differences”, Ali Qazi-Askar, the representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution for hajj and pilgrimage affairs said, Tasnim News Agency reported.

He said almost 85,000 Iranian will go to this year’s hajj after the Saudis said they remain committed to the previous year’s agreement on respecting the honor and dignity of the pilgrims.

Although Iran has planned to limit the presence of the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to 28 days, some may have to stay there for up to 40 days due to some problems in Saudi airports, the cleric added. He did not elaborate.

Qazi-Askar highlighted efforts to provide the best amenities for the Iranian pilgrims, saying Iran has set up a modern catering facility in Mecca that can produce 80,000 meals on a daily basis.

In 2016, more than 1.8 million pilgrims attended hajj, but Iranians stayed away after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly crush of people during the 2015 pilgrimage.

On September 2, 2015, thousands of people lost their lives in the deadly crush after Saudi authorities blocked a road in Mina during a ritual, causing large crowds of pilgrims to collide.

The crush was the deadliest incident in the history of the pilgrimage. According to an Associated Press count based on official statements from the 36 countries that lost citizens in the disaster, more than 2,400 pilgrims were killed in the incident. Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.

Riyadh severed political relations with Tehran following the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran after the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia in January 2016.

 

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