JEDDAH: The Council of Ministers said Iran is attempting to politicize the Haj by refusing to sign an agreement mandatory for all countries seeking to send pilgrims on the holy journey.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Monday afternoon, was briefed about the controversy arising from a meeting last week between an Iranian Haj delegation and the Saudi Haj and Umrah Ministry, said Culture and Information Minister Adel Al-Toraifi in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Al-Toraifi said that the Iranian delegation had refused to sign the agreement outlining the arrangements that would be made for the pilgrims, in reference to accommodation, visa and other issues.
This is a requirement for all countries sending pilgrims, he said.
He said that there was no question that the Kingdom wanted to refuse entry to Iranian pilgrims.
The country was honored to be hosting all pilgrims from around the world. He said the Iranian government would now have to face Almighty Allah and the world to explain why its representatives failed to sign the minutes of the meeting with the Haj and Umrah Ministry.
Al-Toraifi said the aim of the Iranian delegation was to politicize the Haj and try to create the impression that the Kingdom was at fault.
The Cabinet rejected these attempts and stated that it has been doing everything in its power to provide quality services for pilgrims, he said.
Arab News reported last week that the Iranians had sought to have visas issued in Iran for their pilgrims. The Kingdom was not prepared to do this because it had closed it missions in that country after they were attacked. The Kingdom had stated that the visas would be issued from Dubai.