Saudis Agree to Two of Iran’s Umrah Conditions

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Speaking at a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday, Ali Reza Rashidian added that Riyadh officials are considering the third pre-condition.

He expressed hope that given the positive developments in relations among regional countries, the issue of Iranians’ participation in Umrah pilgrimage will soon be resolved.

Rashidian also noted that preliminary measures for participation of Iran’s pilgrims in next year’s Hajj have already started.

Iran has not sent pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Umrah since 2015.

Iran sent 86,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj this year. In 2018 and 2017 some 85,000 Iranians made the pilgrimage.

A year earlier, more than 1.8 million pilgrims attended Hajj but Iranians stayed at home after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly crush of people during the 2015 pilgrimage.

On September 24, 2015, thousands of people lost their lives in the deadly crush after Saudi authorities blocked a road in Mina during a ritual, forcing large crowds of pilgrims to collide.

The crush was the deadliest incident in the history of the pilgrimage. According to an Associated Press count based on official statements from the 36 countries that lost citizens in the disaster, more than 2,400 pilgrims were killed in the incident.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.