Iran said Tuesday it had finally received an official invitation from Saudi Arabia for its pilgrims to attend this year’s hajj.
The representative of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei for Hajj, Sayyed Ali Ghazi Askar, said on Monday that Iran had “officially received Saudi Arabia’s invitation to meet and hold bilateral talks on the Hajj.”
He added that the talks would focus on accommodation, transportation, safety, medical care, visas and banking, and that Iran would respond to the invitation over the next few days.
Last week, a senior Iranian official dismissed reports that Saudi Arabia had invited Iran to discuss the resumption of Iranians’ participation in Hajj pilgrimage.
“Contrary to the report published by some media outlets about the extension of an invitation by Saudi Arabia for Iran’s participation in this year’s Hajj rituals, we have received no invitation,” the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, Hamid Mohammadi, had said.
In September 2015, a deadly human crush occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca. Days into the incident, Saudi Arabia published a death toll of 770 but refused to update it despite gradually surging fatality figures from individual countries whose nationals had been among the victims of the crush. Iran said about 4,700 people, including over 465 of its nationals, lost their lives in the incident.
Earlier that same month, a massive construction crane had collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 pilgrims, including 11 Iranians, and injuring over 200 others, among them 32 Iranian nationals.