Iran criticizes Saudi Arabia over restriction of Hajj for second year
Iran’s authority on Hajj affairs has criticized Saudi Arabia over its recent decision to restrict Hajj pilgrimage for the second year amid coronavirus pandemic.
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Abdolfattah Navvab, who serves as representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution on Hajj issues, said on Wednesday that Iran will continue to press Saudi Arabia to observe the rights of the Iranian pilgrims in this year’s Hajj season beginning mid-July.
Navvab suggested in remarks published by the official IRNA news agency that some 45,000 of the pilgrims that would be allowed to Hajj ceremony in Saudi Arabia this year will be nationals of other countries.
That comes as Saudi Arabian government has announced it will restrict the Hajj pilgrimage to a maximum of 60,000 people from within the kingdom who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Navvab said, however, that Saudi Arabia’s decision to impose restrictions on Hajj pilgrims is against Islamic principles.
“Saudi Arabia should respect the quota for pilgrims from our country,” said Navvab.
“It is a right bestowed upon all Muslims by God that they should set foot in the Land of Revelation ..., no matter they are in Saudi Arabia or not,” he said.
Iranians account for the largest group of pilgrims as per country population attending Hajj, an annual ceremony which draws over two million able-bodied and well-off Muslims from around the world.
Hajj has become a contentious issue between Iran and Saudi Arabia since fatal incidents in the 2015 ceremony which led to more than 460 deaths among Iranian pilgrims.
A senior Iranian administration official on Hajj issues said on Wednesday that the government had sent correspondences to Saudi Arabia regarding the rights of the Iranian pilgrims in this year’s Hajj.