Iran to resume hajj discussions with Saudi Arabia

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015, file photo, a Muslim pilgrim walks through the site where dead bodies are gathered after a stampede during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Gazette reported the kingdom has held a workshop to review hajj security plans following a deadly crush that killed more than 2,400 pilgrims last year. The newspaper reported that the three-day workshop, which ends Thursday, March 24, 2016, reviewed emergency medical plans and "the lessons of last year's hajj season."  (AP Photo, File)

a Muslim pilgrim walks through the site where dead bodies are gathered after a stampede during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia.  (AP Photo, File)

According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Iran plans to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to discuss new hajj arrangments, in the first official visit by either side after the ties between the two countries were severed in January 2016.

The head of Iran’s hajj organisation, Saeed Ohadi, said Saudi authorities had invited Tehran to send a delegation to Riyadh on April 14 to discuss preparations for hajj after the pilgrimage was marred last year by a deadly crash that killed hundreds of people, many of them Iranians which ruined the relations between the two countries.

According to state news agency IRNA the Iranian delegation members were still waiting for their visas and were expecting to meet the Saudi hajj minister. “The fate of this year’s hajj will be decided in this meeting,” one of the members said, according to Tasnim news agency.

Saudi officials have stood by their official counts of 769 dead and 934 injured, figures that have not been updated since two days after the crash. While according to international tallies, the numbers go up to 2,070, making it one of the deadliest hajj disasters.

While Saudi King Salman ordered an investigation into the causes of the crash, butt more than six months after the disaster, no findings have been published.

Iranian officials have accused Riyadh of mishandling the response and complained of delays in repatriating the bodies of the 461 Iranian nationals who died in Mecca. Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran after demonstrators angry at the execution of a prominent Shia cleric attacked Saudi diplomatic missions.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, who is also the interior minister and head of the Supreme Hajj Committee, vowed at a recent hajj committee meeting to “firmly deal” with any attempt to undermine security at the pilgrimage, according to Saudi media.

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone