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Iran clarifies position on dispatching Iranian citizens for Hajj

ISLAMABAD, JUNE 01 (DNA) -Considering the issue that due to Saudi Arabia hurdles, dispatching the Iranian citizens to Hajj is not possible this year, the positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in this regard is explained.
Unfortunately, two rounds of discussions of negotiating technical delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the political, security and Ministry of Hajj officials of Saudi Arabia on sending of Iranian pilgrims on the Hajj this year remained inconclusive and government of Saudi Arabia despite efforts of the Iranian side for opening of the way for performing this religious duty by the Muslims of Iran, did not enter on agreement as per the existing procedure and norms of the previous years.
As the Royal government of Saudi Arabia, alongwith significant presence in performing responsibility of hospitality of Harmain Sharifain (two holy mosques) and involvement of political differences in a religious duty, has resorted to propaganda projection and showing the fault of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Following points are given to enlighten the public opinion on this issue.
-Visit of the members of technical team of the Hajj & Ziaraat Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Saudi Arabia for arrangement of Hajj of current year with that country should be under taken in January 2016, but due to hurdles of Saudi authorities and after constant follow ups with delay of three months made in April 2016.
In view of vastness, complicated nature of dispatch of thousands of pilgrims in the limited period of Hajj, this desperate delay and cunctation was the first deliberate hurdle of Saudi Arabia to prevent Iranian pilgrim from performing hajj. Despite it the Iranian delegation with the hope of reaching on an agreement visited Saudi Arabia after a three months delay.
– Although Saudi side blames Iranian side for politicizing of hajj issue and despite the fact that Iranian negotiating team was completely technical and nonpolitical, but on the day of holding the negotiations it was witnessed with surprise that contrary to the previous years a large number of the members of Saudi negotiating team were from security institutions and organizations of that country and Saudi Ministry of Hajj could not take any decision and make agreement without their permission on the logistical and technical details.
It would be enough if Saudi Ministry of Hajj publish the names and particulars of the negotiating teams of the two sides, so it could be ascertained which side has involved the political issues with hajj.
– Saudi authorities by putting up the illogical issues like prohibiting the entering of Iran Air to that country and compulsory attaining of visas from a third country made hurdles in the first round of discussions.
– Contrary to the commitment of the Saudi side regarding issuance of visas for the 2nd visit of the Iranian delegation at the earliest, this matter was delayed for 45 days on May 25, 2016 till the appointment of new Minister for Hajj of Saudi Arabia and necessary time for management of Hajj was missed.
-In view of the bitter experiences of the previous year in inefficient management of Hajj-which led to death of a large number of pilgrims including 472 Iranian pilgrims in two incidents of Mina and collapse of crane in Makkah- and abominable behavior of police and security organizations with pilgrims, Iranian delegation tried to obtain minimum guarantees regarding security and dignity of the pilgrims but unfortunately did not receive a satisfactory reply from the Saudi side.
Naturally, dispatch of tens of thousands of Iranian nationals to the country, which has severed political and consular ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, having history of mismanagement and involvement in poisoning paragraph against people and government of Iran, was one of the concerns of the Iranian Hajj delegation and for that very purpose tried to reach on a formula to have consular access to its citizens during Hajj period with the Saudi side but unfortunately no cooperation extended in this regard and so far despite agreement between Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran and Government of Switzerland on text of a document regarding opening of an Interest Office of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Saudi Arabia, Saudi side has not replied on this initiative since three months.
– In view of expiry of necessary period for effective logistical management of Hajj, like lease agreements with hotels and training of pilgrims, delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran by leaving Jeddah gave time till May 29, 2016 to Saudi side for giving their final opinion on the items of disagreement.
Unfortunately, Saudi side instead of presenting satisfactory replies has resorted to tools of propaganda and media and with the political and unjust motive has tried to blame Islamic republic of Iran and avoid its religious and international obligations.
-Islamic Republic of Iran with the belief that Hajj should not be infected with the political disputes of the governments, so far remain silent and showed restraint over projections, propaganda and various statements by the political institutions of Saudi Arabia in the hope that if there is a possibility to persuade Saudi government for an non-political approach towards the subject of Hajj, it should be utilized. But when all the ways have been closed, step has been taken to enlighten the public opinion.=DNA

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