1148 GMT January 22, 2020
Saudi Arabian Deputy Hajj Minister Abdolrahman Bijavi in a meeting on Sunday with Iran’s consular delegation in Medina, reaffirmed his country’s adherence to offering suitable services to the ‘Guests of the Compassionate’, IRNA reported.
He further said, “My colleagues and I are ready round the clock to hear views of Hajj headquarters and solve pilgrims’ possible problems.”
During the meeting, both sides were unanimous about respecting pilgrims’ rights and their dignity and also full implementation of the agreement earlier signed between Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization and Saudi Hajj Ministry.
Foreign Ministry’s 10-member consular delegation arrived in Medina on August 2 to render consular services to the Iranian pilgrims in Mecca and Medina, two major Saudi cities home to holy shrines.
Iran stopped sending pilgrims to Hajj over security concerns after two deadly incidents claimed the lives of more than 470 Iranian pilgrims during the Hajj rituals in 2015 when some 4,700 people lost their lives in a human stampede in Mina, near Mecca.
Earlier, a massive construction crane had collapsed into Mecca's Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 pilgrims, including 11 Iranians, and injuring over 200 others, among them 32 Iranian nationals.
Iran announced that it would not send its pilgrims to the annual Islamic gathering unless the Saudi officials guarantee their security, safety and dignity.
No Iranians attended Hajj congregation in 2016 due to Saudis' failure to provide the necessary conditions for their participation. However, the situation is now different in 2017 after the Iranian and Saudi officials reached an agreement upon which the latter became committed to provide necessary grounds for the presence of the Iranian pilgrims in this year's Hajj rituals.