Punishment of Saudis behind abuse case Iran’s precondition for resuming Umrah pilgrimage: Official

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A high-ranking Iranian official said the resumption of the Umrah (minor) Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia hinges on the punishment of the police officers behind the harassment of two Iranian teenagers at Jeddah Airport last year.

Iran has told Saudis that the offenders should be punished and that is a prerequisite for Tehran-Riyadh negotiation and the resumption of Umrah Hajj, Mohammad Reza Baqeri, a top official with Leader’s Representative Office in Hajj and Pilgrimage Affairs, told the Tasnim News Agency.

He further emphasized that if the Saudis are willing to see Iran resume Umrah Hajj pilgrimage, they will definitely declare the verdicts of the offenders’ trials.

Baqeri went on to say that after the resumption of Minor Hajj, Iran would have an opportunity to decide on the resumption of Major Hajj pilgrimage to the Arab country.

Iran suspended the Umrah Hajj pilgrimage in April 2015 in the wake of molestation of two Iranian teenage pilgrims at Jeddah airport.

The Iranian teenage boys were harassed by two Saudi officers at King Abdulaziz International Airport when the offenders took them away during body search, citing suspicion.

According to Saudi media reports, the two criminal police officers were tried at Jeddah’s Criminal Court back in June 2015.

They were sentenced to four years in prison each and 1,000 lashes after being found guilty, Saudi media reported.

However, Iranian officials express regret that none of the sentences have been carried out so far.

By Tasnim News Agency