Tehran’s Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami censured Riyadh for its refusal to facilitate the travel of Iranian pilgrims to the Arab country for the upcoming Hajj, saying that the Saudi regime does not deserve to govern Hajj rituals.
The Iranian delegates and Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization have made efforts to dispatch Iranian pilgrims to Hajj rituals this year, but the Saudis have prevented their pilgrimage, Ayatollah Khatami said in an address to a huge gathering of worshipers here in Tehran on Friday.
“Their criminal Muftis say that it is Iranians who do not want to participate in Hajj; why do you lie?,” the cleric said, referring to recent claims by Saudi Muftis that the Iranian authorities are preventing their people from fulfilling their religious duty of Hajj pilgrimage.
He further pointed to the tragic incidents during last year’s Hajj season in Saudi Arabia, including the deadly crush of people in Mina, saying that the incidents proved that “the Al Saud does not deserve to run ” Hajj rituals.
Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi and a number of other officials have in recent weeks held several rounds of talks with the Saudi side on sending Iranian pilgrims to this year’s Hajj.
In a speech earlier this month, Ohadi said in his talks with Saudi Hajj officials, he has warned them that Iran will not dispatch pilgrims if Saudi Arabia continues its approach to pilgrims’ security.
“The Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization offered them (Saudis) 20 practical solutions to ensure the security (of pilgrims),” he said at the time, adding that the Saudi side has not accepted the proposals.
They even have announced that no Iranian airplane is permitted to fly to Saudi Arabia, he stated.
More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina, near Mecca, during the Hajj pilgrimage.
The incident marked the worst ever tragedy during Hajj.