News ID: 188297
Published: 0754 GMT February 24, 2017

Iranian, Saudi officials discuss Hajj pilgrimage

Iranian, Saudi officials discuss Hajj pilgrimage

Iran and Saudi Arabia held their first round of negotiations about conditions for the dispatch of Iranian nationals to Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage later this year.

An Iranian delegation that arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday discussed the issue with the Saudi officials in a meeting co-chaired by Caretaker of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Hamid Mohammadi and Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Bentin in Jeddah on Thursday.

During the two-hour negotiation, Mohammadi explained the Islamic Republic of Iran’s stances and expectations from the Saudi side and stressed the need to preserve the rights of the Iranian pilgrims.

The Saudi Hajj minister briefed the Iranian side on his ministry’s plans for holding the forthcoming Hajj and expressed hope that this year’s Hajj ritual would be held with Iranians in attendance.

More than 1.8 million faithful took part in the 2016 Hajj, but Iranians stayed at home after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly stampede during the 2015 pilgrimage.

Iran blamed the disaster on organizers' incompetence and boycotted last year's Hajj.

On September 2, 2015, thousands of people lost their lives in the crush which 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 in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.

   
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