Saturday, 24 June, 2017

Iran to stop sending pilgrims to the hajj

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A prominent Iranian lawmaker says Saudi Arabia’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with Tehran likely will force Iran to stop sending pilgrims to the annual hajj.

According to the Iranian media, Spokesman of the Judicial and Legal Committee of the Iranian parliament, Mohammad Ali Esfanani, made the comments on Monday.

Recalling the Mina Stampede happened in Saudi Arabia on September 2015 and its impacts on the diplomatic ties between both countries, Esfanani said that “we will not send legally any pilgrims to Saudi Arabia once the country has severed ties with Iran.”

“When a country has cut diplomatic relations with us, the process of visa issuing and other related affairs are difficult and meaningless.” He added.

Esfanani also said that “it appears that protection (of pilgrims) and security issues will prevent hajj from taking place.”

Saudi Arabia has not officially commented on whether the kingdom’s severing of ties with Iran also meant that pilgrims from Iran can no longer attend the hajj.

“If it is decided to send pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, there should be a signed resolution with the presence of a third country which will play the role of a coordinator as well as a mediator to foil any conflict between both countries.”

Esfanani underscored: “Sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia would be stopped once the diplomatic ties between both countries officially cut.” Esfanani underscored.

Saudi’s Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir announced Sunday that Saudi Arabia was severing diplomatic ties with Iran after demonstrators stormed its Tehran embassy to protest against Riyadh’s execution of a Shia cleric.

Jubeir also said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours.

Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahain reacted to the issue on Monday, saying the decision was a “big mistake.”

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hossein Jaberi Ansari also accused Saudi Arabia of using an attack on its embassy in Tehran to deliberately stoke “tensions” in the region.

Image: An Iranian hajj pilgrim return home following the Mina Stampede in Saudi Arabia on September 2015 (Photo Credit: Tasnim News)

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