Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi called on the country’s nationals to avoid making pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia from a third country during the upcoming Hajj season, due to the anti-Iran psychological atmosphere created by Riyadh.
As reported by Tasnim, Ohadi pointed to his recent talks with Saudi Hajj officials, saying that in the second round of the negotiations, the Saudis followed the same “improper” approach they had adopted toward the issue of Iranians’ Hajj pilgrimage in the first round.
Regarding this year’s Hajj, the Saudi authorities’ discrimination and hatred, as well as their attempts to take political revenge, had “reached a peak”, he said.
“This year, due to the psychological atmosphere against Iran created by the Saudis and [their] failure to provide consular services to Iranian pilgrims, it is not advisable for any [Iranian] nationals to go on Hajj pilgrimage from another country,” the official warned.
Saudis’ Scenario to Block Way of Iranian Pilgrims to Mecca
According to IFP’s translation of a report by Mashreq, Ohadi further said that drama which played out, preventing Iranians from going on Hajj, was a tool to take political revenge on Iran, unlike what Riyadh claims.
“Before the severance of ties, coordination meetings for this year’s Hajj were delayed by Saudis, which proves that Riyadh had a pre-arranged plan to deprive Iranians from Hajj,” he noted.
On May 24, an Iranian delegation travelled to Saudi Arabia at the official invitation of new Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten to hold last-ditch talks with the Arab kingdom’s officials on the dispatch of Iranian pilgrims for the annual rituals in September.
Tehran had insisted in the talks that visas for Iranian pilgrims should be issued in Iran and that the safety of travellers to Saudi Arabia must be ensured, given the disaster in Mina that killed many pilgrims in the previous Hajj pilgrimage. However, Riyadh refused to accept Iran’s conditions.
More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina, near Mecca, during the Hajj pilgrimage. The incident marked the worst ever Hajj tragedy.