Iran has confirmed receiving an invitation of discussion on next annual Hajj from Saudi Arabia. Seyyed Ali Qazi Askar, the representative of Iran government for Hajj, said on Monday, “We officially received Saudi Arabia’s invitation to meet and hold bilateral talks on Hajj’’. In addition the talks would focus on accommodation, transportation, safety, medical care, visas and banking and that Iran would respond to the invitation over the next few days.
There was no official delegation from Iran at last year’s pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia after the kingdom was very strict keeping relations with Iran. It was the first time in three decades that Iranian pilgrims were absent and the main reason behind it was the worsening relations over the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
“The Iranian delegation will travel to Saudi Arabia on February 23 and we hope to get tangible results,” Seyyad Ali Qazi Askar told the Mizan online news website. “Undoubtedly there are problems that must be resolved”, he added.
To join last year’s Haj, the negotiations broke down over the issues of where their visas should be issued and how the security would be given following the deaths of 464 Iranians in the stampede at Haj of 2015.
According to the Haj representative of Iran “The tone of invitation is not much different from past letters”.
Saudi Arabia is actually severing its diplomatic ties with Iran after the protest held in front of diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashad against the execution by Riyadh of Saudi shia cleric Sheikh Nimra al Nimr.