Deputy FM: President Rouhani may attend Hajj pilgrimage

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani might attend the annual Hajj pilgrimages in the near future, Deputy Foreign Minister in Arab and Middle East Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said.

“Iran and Saudi Arabia are two important countries and major regional players and their interactions, cooperation and sharing of viewpoints can contribute to resolving a major part of the regional and even Islamic world disputes,” Amir Abdollahian told the Al-Alam news TV last night.

He added that Iran’s policy towards the regional countries, Arab countries, and particularly the “neighboring Arab states” is based on mutual respect and expansion of interactions cooperation.

On certain regional issues there are differences of opinion between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and at times there seems to be clashes between the approaches of both sides, said the deputy foreign minister. “Therefore, continuous dialogue, meetings, exchange of messages, and consultations can contribute to a precise, correct and realistic understanding of the regional developments.”

Amir Abdollahian further said President Rouhani may take part in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

The Hajj is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and the largest gathering of Muslim people in the world every year. The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year. This year’s pilgrimage occurs between October 14-18.

The Iranian president hailed Saudi Arabia as a close friend of the Islamic Republic, and expressed both nations’ willingness to smooth over “trivial tensions” that have strained bilateral relations addressing a gathering of Hajj officials here in Tehran on September 19.

President Hassan Rouhani referred to Saudi Arabia as a “friend and brother” of Iran, and said that both sides are “willing to remove trivial tensions from the path (of bilateral ties) in order to fulfill bilateral and the Islamic world’s interests.”

He also added that Tehran and Riyadh have a lot of common interests and enjoy regional commonalities, and emphasized the need for upgrading the level of interactions between the two Muslim countries.

“This issue (expansion of ties) has been emphasized both in the Saudi king’s congratulatory letter to me and in my letter to thank him,” Rouhani added.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday September 17, the Iranian president noted that improving ties and cooperation with the neighboring states is a top priority in Iran’s foreign policy.

Also on August 12, Rouhani had reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to pursue the policy of “constructive interaction” with other countries as a basis for Tehran’s foreign policy.

He has announced on several occasions that his administration will try to “create new opportunities for the country, remove threats and pursue policy of détente and mutual trust”.

President Rouhani also believes that his administration will pursue the policy of moderation in dealing with foreign countries and at the same time will safeguard Iranian national security.

By Tasnim News Agency


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