Saudi: Tehran agreed on Hajj regulations

On Friday, a senior Saudi religious leader warned against those who would “wreak havoc” under the guise of pilgrimage (AP)

Saudi Arabia said talks on Wednesday with visiting Iranian delegates on arrangements for hajj pilgrims from the Islamic republic have been "positive".

Saudi hajj ministry undersecretary Hussein Sharif said the kingdom and its leadership "welcome pilgrims from all around the world".
The two sides discussed "arrangements, as well as organisation and services" for pilgrims, he told reporters after a session of talks with the delegation from Tehran.

In an interview with Alriyadh newspaper, he said that an agreement had been reached following the arrival of the delegation Tuesday to "use electronic visas which could be printed out" by Iranian pilgrims, as Saudi diplomatic missions remain shut in Iran.

He added that Tehran has agreed on all " Saudi regulations and conditions related to Hajj."

A final agreement would be signed at the end of the ongoing talks, Thursday, he said.

"Directives concerning the air carrier will come from the Saudi civil aviation authority," said Sharif.

Tuesday, an Iranian delegation travelled to Saudi Arabia, and speaking in an exclusive interview with IRNA, an Iranian official said that the visit to Saudi Arabia by the Iranian delegation is taking place upon an official invitation by the new Saudi Minister of Hajj.

Iranian pilgrims should be able to receive consular services, the official said.

On May 12, Culture Minister Ali Jannati, who oversees the Hajj Organization, said “arrangements have not been put together” for Iranians to make this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca at the end of the summer. (MORE DETAILS).

The two countries held an unsuccessful first round of talks last month in Saudi Arabia on organizing this year’s pilgrimage for Iranians.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has denied then, claims that it will bar Iranian citizens from the annual Hajj pilgrimage this year.

The ministry accused Iran of blocking its own citizens from attending Hajj as “one of many means to pressure” the Saudi government.

According to a statement, Saudi ministry officials met with an Iranian delegation in April to decide on Hajj arrangements, but the Iranians left without signing the agreement, saying they will seek the advice of Iran’s religious authority. (MORE DETAILS).

It was the first dialogue between the region’s foremost powers since diplomatic relations were severed in January.

Riyadh cut ties with Tehran after demonstrators burned its embassy and a consulate there following the Riyadh execution of a Saudi scholar.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are at odds over a raft of regional issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen in which they support opposing sides.

On Friday, a senior Saudi religious leader warned against those who would “wreak havoc” under the guise of pilgrimage, an apparent swipe at the Islamic republic.

Iran refuses to sign Haj agreement with Saudi


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51