Hawzah News Agency (Tehran, Iran) - Hamid Mohammadi, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, said Iranian pilgrims’ safety and dignity has been underlined in an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia on Hajj.
He added that given the lack of diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh, all necessary efforts should be made to ensure the safety of some 86,000 Iranian pilgrims.
In May, Mohammadi said dispatching Iranian Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia will begin on July 16.
He said they will be sent to the kingdom in 576 batches, each consisting 85 to 160 individuals.
He added that the Iranian pilgrims will stay in Saudi Arabia between 28 and 45 days, depending on the conditions at Madinah and Jeddah airports.
In 2017, some 85,000 pilgrims from Iran travelled to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia for Hajj.
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.