Saudi Arabia accepts Iranian request to sign Hajj 2016 agreement

iransaudiJeddah, (IINA) – Saudi Arabia on Tuesday accepted the Iranian government’s request to sign the annual Hajj agreement, a decision that will allow Iranian citizens to perform the pilgrimage this year. An Iranian delegation is due to sign the pact today, Arab News reported.

Hameed Mohammadi, assistant chairman of the Iranian Hajj organization, said: “The Saudi authorities sent the invitation to the organization with regard to arrangements for Hajj this year”.

According to an official Iranian online statement, an Iranian Hajj delegation led by its director Said Awhadi is on its way to Saudi Arabia to complete what it described as “the second round of talks about the Hajj season”.

The talks follow the refusal of the Iranian delegation last week to sign a Hajj agreement with the Kingdom that is mandatory for all countries sending pilgrims this year. The Kingdom accused the Iranian government of playing politics and said it was responsible for blocking its own pilgrims in the eyes of Allah and its people.

The Saudi Council of Ministers last week accused Iran of attempting to politicize Hajj by refusing to sign the agreement with the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry. It stated that there were no attempts made to block Iranian pilgrims.

The Iranians had sought to have visas issued in Iran for their pilgrims. The Kingdom was not prepared to do that because it had closed its missions in that country after they were attacked. The Kingdom had stated that the visas would be issued from Dubai.

Among the points of contention, the Iranians demanded to be able to hold their own rituals and protests. Saudi Arabia contented that these protests were not in the spirit of Hajj.

Saudi Arabia is at odds with Iran over a raft of regional issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen in which the two countries support different sides.


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