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Tehran Tries Again to Politicize Hajj Through Turkey - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London-Iran has resumed attempts to politicize the annual hajj pilgrimage by sending a delegation to Turkey with information about what it called the “Saudi obstruction for Iranians to perform hajj.”

The semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA had reported that Mohammed-Reza Bagheri, International Affairs Deputy Head of the Supreme Leader’s Representative Office in Hajj and Pilgrimage Affairs, headed to Turkey and presented to Director of the Department of Religious Affairs (DRA) Mehmet Gormez a report about what he called the “Saudi obstruction for Iranian pilgrims to perform hajj.”

Bagheri also informed the Turkish side about the latest negotiations that occurred between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian official claimed that in the past five months, Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization failed to reach any concrete results concerning the participation of Iranians in the annual hajj pilgrimage, saying that Saudi Arabia was preventing Iranians from performing hajj and “not collaborating” in this regard.

This is the second time a representative from the Iranian Ministry of Hajj visits Turkey. It remains unclear whether Tehran is looking for a Turkish mediation after Saudi Arabia rejected the conditions offered by Iran to allow Iranian pilgrims the right to organize demonstrations and to have privileges that would cause chaos during the hajj.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umra had announced on May 27 that a visiting Iranian delegation had refused to sign an agreement resolving issues related to Iranian hajj pilgrims.

The ministry had said the delegation “will be responsible in front of Allah Almighty and its people for the inability of the Iranian citizens to perform hajj for this year.”