Tasnim – A delegation of Iranian Foreign Ministry representatives tasked with providing consular services for the Hajj pilgrims will soon travel to Saudi Arabia, a senior Iranian official announced.
Speaking to Tasnim on Monday, Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Hamid Mohammadi said the 10-strong Iranian delegation is going to fly to the Saudi city of Medina.
He also noted that all preparations have been made to offer decent services to the Iranian pilgrims in Mecca and Medina.
Meanwhile, IRNA quoted Iranian Culture Minister Reza Salehi Amiri as saying that visas have been issued for members of the diplomatic delegation.
There is no problem for members of the Foreign Ministry’s delegation to be stationed in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the minister said on Monday.
On Sunday, the first group of Iranian pilgrims left the southern port city of Bandar Abbas for Medina to perform this year’s Hajj ritual. As many as 86,500 Iranians are planned to travel to the kingdom for Hajj.
All Iranian pilgrims are kitted up with electronic bracelets.
Iran announced in mid-March that applicants can go on Hajj pilgrimage this year following negotiations with Saudi officials after a hiatus in the wake of a diplomatic row with the kingdom.
In 2016, more than 1.8 million pilgrims attended Hajj, but Iranians stayed at home after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly crush of people during the 2015 pilgrimage.
On September 24, 2015, thousands of people lost their lives in the deadly crush after Saudi authorities blocked a road in Mina during a ritual, forcing large crowds of pilgrims to collide.
The crush was the deadliest incident in the history of the pilgrimage. According to an Associated Press count based on official statements from the 36 countries that lost citizens in the disaster, more than 2,400 pilgrims were killed in the incident.
Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.