Saudis Create Hurdles for Iranian Pilgrims

Saudis Create Hurdles for Iranian Pilgrims
Saudis Create Hurdles for Iranian Pilgrims

Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi criticized Saudi authorities for their reluctance to facilitate the travel of Iranian pilgrims for the upcoming hajj.

Speaking in the central city of Qom on Thursday, Ohadi pointed to the deadly crush in Mecca during last year’s hajj season in September, which killed thousands of people including over 460 Iranians. He said in his talks with Saudi officials, he had warned them that Iran will not send pilgrims if Saudi Arabia continues its apathy to pilgrims’ security, IRNA reported.

 “The Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization offered Saudis 20 practical solutions to ensure the security (of pilgrims),” he said, adding that the Saudi side had not accepted it.

The official further said that given the Saudi unwillingness for the presence of Iranians in this year’s hajj, Iran will not be able to send the pilgrims for the annual religious event.

Riyadh cut off ties in January after its diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were attacked by men protesting the execution of a top Shia cleric in the oil kingdom.

According to reports, the Saudis now say Iranians wanting to perform the pilgrimage should get their visas from another country.

The hajj organization insists that that is not practical and the visas should be issued by the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. Switzerland represents Saudi interests in Iran after diplomatic relations were cut.