TEHRAN, Mar. 01 (Press Shia) – Minister of Culture has said no hajj pilgrim will be sent to Saudi Arabia unless the kingdom agrees with conditions set by Iran.
Mr. Reza Salehi Amiri told reporters after a Cabinet session on Wednesday that the ministry’s official line of policy had been to dispatch hajj delegations to the kingdom and Iranian side engaged in extensive negotiations with Saudi officials to facilitate the process.
“Iran has conditions voiced to Saudi side which should be agreed to by them so that Iranian hajj pilgrims are sent to the rituals; we will look into the issue after the third day of negotiations, and if they reject our conditions, hajj pilgrimage will be ruled out,” he told the press.
Following the two tragedies in the Great Mosque of Mecca and Mina in 2015 which caused the martyrdom of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims, and the Saudis’ failure in assuaging the grieving Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic announced that it would not send any pilgrims to Hajj if Saudi Arabia did not ensure their safety. The severed diplomatic ties between the two countries has also hindered the process of negotiations.
Ghazi Askar, Leader’s representative for Hajj and Pilgrimage Affairs, had announced Saudis’ invitation for holding bilateral talks [with Iran] on 2017 Hajj rituals; “the reply to the invitation letter containing the Islamic Republic’s conditions for participating was sent by Iran’s Minister of Culture Salehi Amiri addressed to Saudi Arabia’s Hajj minister.”
“We are hoping that the negotiations will lead to a positive result and conditions will be ready for taking part in this spiritual duty,” he added. He further called on all relevant bodies to be prepared for sending about 80,000 pilgrims to this year’s Hajj rituals.