Reza Salehi Amiri

Iranian, Saudi officials agree on some Hajj issues: Minister

IRNA – Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi-Amiri said here on Sunday that Iran and Saudi Arabia has agreed on some issues regarding this year’s Hajj rituals.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a local gathering in Tehran, Salehi-Amiri said the remaining issues for sending pilgrims to this year’s Hajj rituals would be discussed in the next round of negotiations between the Iranian and Saudi officials.

The minister reiterated that Iran is ready to send pilgrims to this year’s Hajj rituals if Saudi Arabia accepts the Islamic Republic’s conditions.

Describing the third round of negotiations between the Iranian and Saudi officials, which was held in Riyadh on March 1 as successful, he said the final results of the talks would be announced soon.

The second round of talks between the two sides was held in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Friday (Feb 24). The first round had been held on Thursday afternoon (Feb 23).

Caretaker of Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Hamid Mohammadi heading a delegation left for Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Saudi minister of Hajj on Wednesday (Feb 22).

During the negotiations in Jeddah, the two sides expressed their views about the problems on the way of Iranian pilgrims who want to perform Hajj pilgrimage in 2017.

Previously, Salehi-Amiri reiterated that ensuring the pilgrims’ security, paying the blood money to the families of those who were killed during the 2015 Hajj rituals and preserving the Iranian pilgrims’ dignity are Iran’s conditions for attending the Hajj congregations.

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.