Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Iran Will Boycott This Year's Hajj

Reflecting continuing tension between the two countries, on Sunday Iran announced that it will not allow its citizens to travel to Saudi Arabia in September for the Hajj.  According to the New York Times, Iran blamed Saudi Arabia for lack of cooperation, while the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said an Iranian delegation refused to sign an agreement to resolve outstanding issues. The two countries had been at odds over transportation, security and procedures for issuing visas. (See prior posting.) Press TV quoted remarks by Iran's Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati:
Given the way Saudi authorities treated Iranian delegates and talked to them during two rounds of negotiations as well as in view of their sabotage and obstacles they created, unfortunately Iranian pilgrims cannot go to Hajj this year.
Hundreds of Iranian pilgrims were killed in a stampede during last year's Hajj. (See prior posting.)