Speaking in an interview with Pakistan’s Such TV channel, Hojat-ol-Islam Seyyed Ali Qazi-Askar, the representative of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for Hajj and pilgrimage affairs, added that Iran has an does not have a sectarian view of Hajj.
He noted that Iran made all the required preparations for Iranian pilgrims to attend this year’s Hajj but that Saudi authorities did not resolve the main issues in the way of Iranians’ pilgrimage.
"If Saudi officials solve the problems and guarantee our Hajj pilgrims’ safety, we are ready to start the operation for Hajj and Umrah (minor Hajj) despite the fact that there is very little time left,” he stated.
Elsewhere, Hojat-ol-Islam Qazi-Askar said Hajj is a venue for showcasing Islamic unity as it is a huge gathering of Muslims from around the world.
On May 24, an Iranian delegation traveled to Saudi Arabia at the official invitation of new Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten to hold last-ditch talks with the Arab kingdom’s officials on the dispatch of Iranian pilgrims for the annual rituals in September.
Tehran had insisted in the talks that visas for Iranian pilgrims should be issued in Iran and that the safety of travelers to Saudi Arabia must be ensured, given the disaster in Mina that killed many pilgrims in the previous Hajj pilgrimage. However, Riyadh refused to accept Iran’s conditions and said it would impose certain restrictions on Iran’s Hajj delegation and its pilgrims.
Iran’s insistence on receiving guarantees for its pilgrims’ safety comes following last year’s Mina tragedy.
More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina, near Mecca, during the Hajj pilgrimage.
The incident marked the worst ever tragedy during Hajj.