Saudi Arabia denies visa for Leader's Hajj envoy

July 5, 2022 - 21:38

TEHRAN – Saudi Arabia has refused to issue a visa for a top Iranian Hajj official in charge of overseeing Hajj procedures for Iranian pilgrims. 

The official is Hojjat al-Islam Abdul Fattah Navab who is the head of Iran’s Hajj delegation and the representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. Navab was denied a visa on the pretext that he didn’t meet the age requirement, according to Al Alam. 

The Saudi authorities set requirements for the Hajj season this year, including that the pilgrim must be 65 years old or under, and this requirement was to be excluded from the heads of the Hajj missions and their staff. There have been contacts in this regard in recent days, but apparently they did not bear fruit.

Navab, 65, will not be able to participate in the Hajj season this year, and Hojjat al-Islam Rukn al-Dini will manage the affairs of the Iranian mission on behalf of him. 

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian had spoken over the phone with the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Seyyed Sadeq Hosseini in which he was informed about the latest situation of Iranian pilgrims.

In the conversation, the Hajj chief expressed satisfaction with the situation of pilgrims as well as the services provided to them. 

“In the process of the arrival of Iranian pilgrims to Jeddah and Medina airports, as well as their accommodation and performance of Hajj rituals, the necessary cooperation with the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been made by the relevant executive agents of Hajj affairs in Saudi Arabia up to this moment,” he stated. 

Sadeq Hosseini said that all the pilgrims from Iran are doing well and emphasized that none of the pilgrims has faced any problems so far, according to the Iranian foreign ministry. 

Amir Abdollahian also elaborated on his consultations with the Iraqi foreign minister to facilitate the journey of the “dear pilgrims of Islamic Iran to the Land of Revelation”. The foreign minister expressed hope that this year’s Hajj would be held successfully and lead to full satisfaction of pilgrims from Islamic countries, including Iran.

Thousands of Iranian Hajj pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the religious season. Iran’s top Hajj official also traveled to Saudi Arabia to oversee the procedures for Iranian pilgrims. 

Hosseini noted that the officials concerned with the executive procedures had made great efforts despite shortage of time to provide facilities, including housing, food and transportation, for pilgrims.

This year, 39,600 Iranian pilgrims will perform Hajj. 

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