Iranians will be unable to perform haj this year after Tehran’s haj organising committee refused to sign a deal with Saudi Arabia regarding arrangements for the pilgrimage.
Saudi’s ministry of Haj and Umrah said in a statement that the Iranian delegation was offered a number of solutions for all the issues it raised.
The ministry said it offered to issue visas electronically from inside Iran according to the mechanism agreed by the Saudi Foreign Ministry.
It also agreed to transport pilgrims equally between the Saudi national carrier and Iranian national carrier, approving the Iranian request to represent it diplomatically through the Swiss embassy in order to take care of Iranian pilgrims’ interests.
However, despite long meetings, the Iranian mission left on Friday without signing the minutes, the ministry said.
It also said that the kingdom “has stressed its categorical rejection to politicise the haj rituals.”
The Iranian delegation “will be responsible in front of Allah Almighty and its people for inability of the Iranian citizens to perform haj for this year,” it added.
Iran’s main haj official Saeed Ohadi said there was still time to reach an agreement until Sunday night, Tehran’s official IRNA news agency reported.
He earlier told Press TV that Tehran would not send pilgrims to Saudi unless their safety was ensured.
The “lack of a unified decision” by Saudi officials was causing the delay in the agreement, he added.
More than 2,400 pilgrims from more than 30 countries are reported to have died during a stampede during 2015’s haj, according to reports. The majority of pilgrims who died – estimated at 461 by Iranian officials – came from Iran.