Iranian pilgrims 'to attend Hajj again' after Saudi rift

Evrard Martin
Mars 19, 2017

The agreement comes after the two sides reached a consensus on February 23 on a package which includes arrangements for safety measures as well as consular, and medical services following months of negotiation, the announcement further said.

In 2017 Iran will send 85,000 people to the worldwide religious event, to take place in the fall, the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization said in an announcement published on its website March 18.

Tehran blamed Riyadh for mismanaging the holy sites and called on the world's Muslims to reconsider Saudi control of them considering the country's "incompetence". Saudi Arabia has sought to increase its oil sales to China, also the world's second-largest oil market, after losing some of its market share to Russian Federation in 2016.

The security of the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, and cooperation against terrorism, were discussed in depth during the Washington visit of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

King Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth as much as $65 billion on the first full day of his visit to Beijing on Thursday. However, it has been trying to get more involved in efforts to end Syria's six-year-old civil war, where Riyadh supports the opposition battling President Bashar Al-Assad.

Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had completed all necessary arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to attend the annual Haj pilgrimage, the official SPA news agency said, an issue that has created tensions between the two regional powers in the past.

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-led Iran back opposing factions in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain.

The joint statement said both China and Saudi Arabia stressed their support for Yemen's legal government.

Other reports by CampDesrEcrues

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