Iran to discuss Hajj pilgrimage with Saudi Arabia

Iran ready to ‘participate in bilateral talks’ with Saudi Arabia about the 2017 Hajj pilgrimage

Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey.

Iran has received an official invitation letter from Saudi Arabia to discuss the 2017 hajj pilgrimage, said Ali Qaziaskar, a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian authorities are willing to “participate in bilateral talks,” said Qaziaskar.

Iran did not participate in last year’s pilgrimage due to tension with Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia does not prevent anyone from performing the religious duty,” said Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister.

Relations between the nations soured after a stampede crushed pilgrims, killing hundreds of people. With 464 killed, Iran had the highest death toll of any country.

Riyadh and Tehran cut diplomatic ties a few months later, when a Shiite cleric was executed in Saudi Arabia.