Riyadh welcomes Iran’s condition for resuming Umrah Hajj

August 3, 2019

TEHRAN – Saudi Hajj Minister Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Benten has welcomed Tehran’s condition including guaranteeing dignity and safety of Iranian pilgrims for resuming Umrah Hajj.

Benten also said he will personally pursue the issue of establishing Iran’s interest section in the Swiss embassy in Riyadh, Mehr reported on Saturday.

He made the remarks during a meeting with head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Alireza Rashidian.

During the meeting, Rashidian highlighted Iran’s condition for resuming Umrah Hajj for Iranian pilgrims, including guaranteeing the safety and respecting the dignity of Iranian pilgrims.

The Iranian official referred to establishing Iran’s interest section in the Swiss embassy in Riyadh as the first step to guarantee the security and dignity of the Iranian pilgrims.

Tensions ran high between Tehran and Riyadh after Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January 2016, and a subsequent attack by outraged Iranian protesters on the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Senior Iranian officials including Leader of the Islamic Revolution condemned the attack on the embassy. However, the Arab country used the attack as a pretext to expel Iranian diplomats and sever ties with the Islamic Republic. 

Prior to the embassy attack, a deadly crush of Hajj pilgrims in September 2015 caused friction between Tehran and Riyadh. Tehran blamed mismanagement for the incident. More than 460 Iranians lost their lives in the crush. 

MH/PA

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