Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SAUDI ARABIA/IRAN : Deal with Riyadh: green light for Iranian pilgrimages to Mecca

http://www.asianews.it/files/img/IRAN_-_ARABIA_SAUDITA_-_pellegrinaggio_2017.jpgHaving overcome last year’s crisis, which effectively blocked the travel of Iranian pilgrims to the holy places of Islam, Tehran is ready to seal a deal with Riyadh to send Iranian citizens to Mecca for the Hajj. 

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaking on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, confirmed the willingness of the Islamic Republic to establish "constructive" relations with the countries of the region, including Saudi Arabia.
 
The head of Tehran's diplomacy stressed that, thanks to the efforts by the Organization for the Hajj pilgrimage, Iran is in favor of sending compatriots to the nation considered its greatest rival in the Middle East. 

The decision is the result of the diplomatic work and mediation undertaken by representatives from Tehran and Riyadh in the body that regulates the trips to Mecca, visited each year by millions of believers from around the world.

Following the agreements reached, Iran hopes that this year the faithful departing from the Islamic Republic can enjoy a "calm, perfect and dignified" atmosphere during their pilgrimage. 

On 23 February a Tehran delegation went to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the kingdom for further talks to iron out the remaining details.

Last year more than 1.8 million faithful attended Hajj minus the Iranian faithful, following a harsh verbal and diplomatic row between Riyadh and Tehran, exacerbated by regional political events that have overlapping religious and spiritual elements.

According to forecasts, this year "at least" 80 thousand faithful Iranians could participate in the great pilgrimage to Mecca. 

In addition to Iran, the preparatory meetings of the Saudi organizers – to discuss the issue of visas and accommodation of pilgrims on site - involve delegates from more than 80 Muslim majority countries.

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