Iran Begins Sending Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj

Iran Begins Sending Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj
(Thursday, July 19, 2018) 20:11

The first batch of Iranian Hajj left for Saudi Arabia with see-off a ceremony on Wednesday.

The Center of Mosque Studies The ceremony was held at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini (RA) International Airport with a number of officials, including Hojat-ol-Islam Seyed Ali Qazi-Askar, the representative of Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Hajj and pilgrimage affairs, and Hamid Mohammadi, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, in attendance.

The pilgrims who left for the Holy Land on Wednesday were from the provinces of Tehran and Alborz.

Addressing the ceremony, Hojat-ol-Islam Qazi-Askar highlighted the efforts made to pave the ground for Iranians’ participation in Hajj this year.

He also underlined the need for the pilgrims to recognize the sensitivity of the current conditions and act as true representatives of a revolutionary country.

Like last year, more than 85,000 Iranian pilgrims will make the pilgrimage this year.

In May, Mohammadi said Iranian Hajj pilgrims 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.

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