By Arab News
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday accepted an Iranian government request to sign the Haj agreement.
An Iranian delegation is due to sign the pact on Wednesday. The decision will allow Iranian citizens to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Hameed Mohammadi, assistant chairman of the Iranian Haj organization, said: “The Saudi authorities sent the invitation to the organization with regard to arrangements for Haj this year.”
According to an official Iranian online statement, an Iranian Haj delegation led by its director Said Awhadi is on its way to the Kingdom to complete what it described as “the second round of talks about the Haj season.”
The talks follow the refusal of the Iranian delegation last week to sign a Haj agreement with the Kingdom that is mandatory for all countries sending pilgrims this year. The Kingdom accused the Iranian government of playing politics and said it was responsible for blocking its own pilgrims in the eyes of Allah and its people.
The Saudi Council of Ministers last week accused Iran of attempting to politicize Haj by refusing to sign the agreement with the Saudi Haj and Umrah Ministry. It stated that there were no attempts made to block Iranian pilgrims.
Arab News reported last week that the Iranians had sought to have visas issued in Iran for their pilgrims. The Kingdom was not prepared to do that because it had closed its missions in that country after they were attacked. The Kingdom had stated that the visas would be issued from Dubai.
Among the points of contention, the Iranians demanded to be able to hold their own rituals and controversial protests. Saudi Arabia contented that these protests were not in the spirit of Haj.
Saudi Arabia is at odds with Iran over a raft of regional issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen in which Tehran is supporting terror groups.
On Friday, a senior Saudi scholar warned against those who would “wreak havoc” under the guise of pilgrimage.
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