Riyadh Hindering Iranians’ Hajj Pilgrimage: Spokesman

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari blamed Saudi Arabia for obstructing preparations for Iranian pilgrims travelling for the Hajj rituals.

“With the continuation of Saudi Arabia’s obstructionism on the issues of the security of (Iranian) pilgrims, transportation and issuing visas, the subject of Hajj has been hindered practically,” the spokesman said at his weekly press conference in Tehran on Monday May 23.

He also slammed Riyadh for adopting an “intensification of tensions” as its main policy, stressing that Tehran, on the contrary, seeks stability and calm in the region.

There has been an interruption in Iranian trips to Saudi Arabia for Hajj after Riyadh severed its diplomatic ties with Tehran in January.

While Iran insists that the safety of travelers to Saudi Arabia must be ensured, given a disaster that killed many Iranian pilgrims in last year’s Hajj, the Saudis are dragging their feet over facilitating the trip for the upcoming Hajj season.

More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina, near Mecca. The incident marked the worst ever tragedy during Hajj.