In his first press conference, Reza Salehi Amiri, the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, explained Iran’s conditions to resume sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
“The Islamic Republic’s official policy is to ensure that the dignity and security of its pilgrims is guaranteed in Hajj pilgrimage,” he noted, according to a report by IFP.
Therefore, he added, if Saudi Arabian government accepts our minimum conditions and pay the blood money of Mina martyrs, Iran will send its pilgrims to Hajj this year.
Iran has received an invitation from Saudi Arabia for talks on the 2017 Hajj pilgrimage, and an Iranian delegation is slated to travel to Saudi Arabia on February 23 for talks.
More than 1.8 million faithful took part in last year’s Hajj, but Iranians stayed at home after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly crush of people during the 2015 pilgrimage.
On September 24, 2015, thousands of people lost their lives in the crush after Saudi authorities blocked a road in Mina during a ritual, forcing large crowds of pilgrims to collide.
The crush was the deadliest incident in the history of the pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 7,000 people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.