Bahram Qassemi

Results of Hajj talks to be announced in due time: Spokesman

IRNA – Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Bahram Qasemi says that Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization is responsible for holding talks with Saudi Arabia on Hajj issue, adding that the outcomes of the Hajj negotiations will be announced in due time.

Foreign Ministry is not responsible for the Hajj talks, Qasemi said at his weekly press conference on Monday.

However, he stressed, the Foreign Ministry has been informed that the recent Hajj talks have been positive to some extent.

The two sides (Iranian and Saudi officials) have also reviewed the ways of providing mechanisms for consular facilities during the annual Hajj rituals, the spokesman went on to say.

On February 23, an Iranian delegation held talks with the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed bin Saleh bin Tahir Benten on the disagreements of the two countries over the Hajj affairs. The talks continued on Feb 24 and March 1 in Saudi cities on Jeddah and Riyadh respectively.

During the negotiations, the Iranian and Saudi officials expressed their views about the problems on the way of Iranian pilgrims who want to perform Hajj pilgrimage in 2017.

Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi-Amiri has recently 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.

On March 5, Salehi-Amiri announced that Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed on some issues regarding this year’s Hajj rituals.

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.