Iranian Muslims could miss out the annual Hajj pilgrimage this yaer as Iran and Saudi Arabia’s failed to mend relations following January’s severing of diplomatic ties
Tehran and Riyadh trade blame over a failure to agree organisational details, according to media reports.
A delegation from Tehran held four days of talks in Saudi Arabia last month, aimed at reaching a deal for Iranians to go for Hajj, which will take place in September.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Tehran’s Islamic Guidance and Culture Minister Ali Jannati as blaming Riyadh for the impasse.
The Saudi Hajj ministry, however, said Tehran’s delegation had refused to sign an agreement laying out arrangements for this year’s pilgrimage, according to a statement carried by state-linked news site Sabq.
According to a statement carried by state-run news website Sabq, an agreement for arrangements for this year’s haj was not signed due to Tehran’s demands, which include the granting of visas inside Iran and transport arrangements that would evenly split the pilgrims between Saudi and Iranian airlines.
Minister of Haj and Umra Mohammed Bintin told state-run television station Ekhbariya that Iran was the only country that refused to sign the agreement. Both countries have blamed the fiasco on the other.
Ties between the two Middle East countries were severed after Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were ransacked in response to the execution of prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in the Sunni-led kingdom. Talks on the issue were held but the countries have not resolved the rift.