Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Tehran Changes its Mind and Allows 63,000 of its Citizens to Perform Hajj - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iran has changed its mind and decided to sign an agreement laying out arrangements for its citizens to perform this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. The agreement ends the controversy that was caused by the refusal of Iranian Hajj affairs officials to sign a protocol with Saudi Arabia under the pretext that they wanted their demands to be met and their desire to seek advice from the authorities in Iran.

After this new Iranian stance, Saudi Arabia has agreed to the request of the head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of Iran and his accompanying delegation to come to Saudi Arabia in order to complete the signing of the protocol for arrangements for Iranian pilgrims. The agreement is supposed to be signed by officials at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and the Iranian delegation in Jeddah today.

The chairman of the board of directors of the Iranian Pilgrims’ Guides Establishment Dr Talal Saleh Qutb told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia has not changed its agreements with Iran and refuses to politicise the Hajj, deal with matters in a confusing way or deprive pilgrims from all around the world of spiritual tranquillity. He added that Saudi Arabia has assigned around 63,000 visas for Iranian pilgrims which can be obtained electronically by entering their details on the standardised electronic system for pilgrims abroad.

Qutb also stressed that the Ministry of Hajj “has never placed any obstacles in the way of those wishing to perform the pilgrimage, and tries its very best to facilitate the arrival of pilgrims and their completion of the Hajj rituals with ease. However, it has clear directives that are compatible with Islamic law, and those who do not want to abide by these directives are preventing themselves from carrying out the pilgrimage”. Qutb also emphasised the Iranian Pilgrims’ Guides Establishment’s readiness to receive Iranian pilgrims according to the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.