Don’t politicize Haj, Riyadh tells Tehran


“The Kingdom is committed to ensuring that protection, all possible comfort and respect is provided to all pilgrims,” said Al-Farsy. He added that the Kingdom’s Supreme Haj Committee was doing everything possible to help all performing the pilgrimage.

“Pilgrims from 85 countries come for Haj every year and all of them have commended the Saudi government’s efforts in this regard,” Al-Farsy was quoted by Al-Watan Arabic daily as saying.

The minister rejected the accusations of Iranian President Mahm-oud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who remarked in Tehran on Monday that Saudi Arabia might abuse pilgrims from Iran during Haj, which begins next month.

Commenting on the accusations, Ibrahim Al-Quaiyid, a member of the National Society for Human Rights of Saudi Arabia, said: “Iran has always tried to create problems during the pilgrimage, which is evident from several incidents in the past.”

Al-Quaiyid rejected allegations Iranian pilgrims had been mistreated or had their human rights violated. He said they had tried to stage violent demonstrations on several occasions in the holy city of Makkah during Haj.

The official website of the Iranian presidency, said: “If Saudi Arabia imposes restrictions on Iranian pilgrims… the Islamic republic will take the appropriate measures.”

Saudi Arabia has not barred the entry of pilgrims from any country. Iranian women pilgrims were allowed to enter the Jannatul Baqi Cemetery in Madinah for the first time last year in the presence of the Chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Al-Farsy himself had inspected the Iranian pilgrims’ accommodation on Aug. 15 this year and spoke to the National Foundation of Iranian Pilgrims in Makkah.


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