Saudi-Iran sectarian tussle has not even spared sacred Hajj 2016
RIYADH, May 12, (APP): Saudi Arabia on Thursday denied
blocking Iranian hajj pilgrims after Tehran alleged "sabotage" by its regional rival.
The kingdom "welcomes all pilgrims from all over the world and from all
nationalities and sectarian backgrounds, and does not stop any Muslim from
coming", the ministry of hajj said in a statement carried by Al-Riyadh
But the visits must occur "within the system and guidelines that
organise hajj affairs," the ministry said.
Earlier Thursday Iran said its nationals will miss the annual hajj,
expected in early September, after the two countries severed diplomatic ties
The ministry said Saudi Arabia "did not at all ban Iranian pilgrims
from coming. The ban came from the Iranian government which uses this as one of its many means to pressure the Saudi government."
The Iranian delegation "refused to sign the agreement to finalise
preparations for this year's hajj... insisting on their demands," the ministry said.
It added that "those who have banned their citizens from this right
(to perform the pilgrimage) will be held responsible for their decision in front of God and the whole world".