Saudi Arabia does not have the right to reallocate Iran’s Hajj quota to other countries, the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi says.
“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation determines the Hajj quota of Muslim countries. So, Saudi Arabia has no right at all to reallocate this quota, as a legitimate right of the Iranian people of which they have been deprived due to the negligence of the Saudi government, to other countries,” Ohadi said on Sunday.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will definitely demand this legitimate right from Saudi Arabia during next year’s Hajj season,” he added.
Ohadi made the remarks in response to some reports that Riyadh seeks to give Iran’s Hajj quota to Pakistan. Pakistani Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf on Thursday categorically denied receiving Iran’s Hajj quota from Saudi Arabia and said the ministry has no intentions to demand the Iranian Hajj quota.
However, he said Pakistan would welcome any move by Saudi Arabia to grant Iran’s Hajj quota to his country.
Iran has cancelled the participation of its pilgrims in this year’s Hajj rituals in September due to Saudi Arabia’s creation of obstacles in the way of Iranians seeking to perform the ritual.
“Despite all the Islamic Republic’s efforts, the Saudis ignored the absolute right of the Iranians to perform the Hajj rituals,” Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization said in a statement in May.
Iran has repeatedly expressed concern about the safety of its pilgrims after more than 2,400 people, including at least 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives in a stampede in Saudi Arabia on September 24, 2015.
The tragic incident took place when two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat.
Saudi Arabia claims that nearly 770 people were killed in the incident.