Iran delegation off to Saudi Arabia: Hajj official

IRNA – Caretaker of Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Hamid Mohammadi announced that an Iranian delegation left here for Riyadh late on Tuesday to hold talks with the Saudi officials on the Hajj issues.

The Riyadh visit of the Iranian delegation took place at the invitation of the Saudi minister of Hajj, Mohammadi told IRNA on Wednesday.

About 500 Iranian pilgrims were killed during a stampede in 2015 Hajj annual congregation when, according to reports, two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of Mecca, on their way to performing the ‘Stoning of the Devil’ ritual at Jamarat.

The Iranian pilgrims couldn’t attend the great religious ritual in 2016 as the Saudi officials failed to ensure their security based on provisions made by the Iranian officials after the tragic incident in its previous year.

The annual Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam which devout Muslims must perform at least once during their lifetime.

Mohammadi also said the number of the Iranian pilgrims who are to attend the major Hajj this year rose to 80,000, while it had been over 60,000 in the last Hajj rituals where the Iranian pilgrims attended.