Having 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
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.
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.