Iran Dispatches 15,000 Sunni Pilgrims to Hajj: Official

The Iranian Leader’s Representative in Hajj Affairs, Seyyed Ali Qazi Askar, says this year the Islamic Republic has sent about 15,000 Sunni pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform their annual Hajj rituals.

“This year, nearly 15,000 of Iranian pilgrims are Sunnis, which is a record compared with previous years,” Qazi Askar added.

“It shows that the Islamic Republic views Hajj as a non-sectarian issue and attaches great significance to the unity of the Islamic society (Ummah),” Qazi Askar added, according to a Farsi report by the Khabar Online news agency.

He also expressed hope that the flow of Iranian pilgrims flying to Saudi Arabia and their return to Iran would go on without any problem.

He went on saying that this year’s pilgrimage has its own sensitivity and added the sensitivity is mainly due to Iran’s decision to boycott Hajj until its conditions for the security and dignity of Iranian pilgrims are met.

Following two tragic events in Masjid al-Haram and Mina about two years ago which left a large number of Iranian pilgrims dead, Tehran boycotted last year’s Hajj pilgrimage, saying its decision will not change until its demands are met.

“As Iran’s Leader stressed in his statements, for the time being, the dignity, security and health of our pilgrims is of greatest significance for us,” he noted.

“As repeatedly announced earlier, we did not have any role in the last year’s absence of Iranian pilgrims from Hajj. We didn’t seek to boycott Hajj and if the Saudi side had met our conditions, we could perform our Hajj pilgrimage last year.”

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