Tehran boycotts Hajj pilgrimage

World Today

Kaaba in Mecca Muslim pilgrims prepare themselves for Friday prayers in front of the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Iran maintains Saudi Arabia doesn’t deserve to manage the holy sites, while Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of making unfair demands for the pilgrimage. The result Iran has boycotted the Hajj. CCTV’s Adel EL Mahrouky gives us this report.

Tehran boycotts Hajj pilgrimage

Tehran boycotts Hajj pilgrimage

Iran maintains Saudi Arabia doesn't deserve to manage the holy sites, while Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of making unfair demands for the pilgrimage. The result Iran has boycotted the Hajj. CCTV's Adel EL Mahrouky gives us this report.

Mecca’s mayor, Ossama Fadhul Al Bar, stated that the Iranian delegation refused to sign on to this year’s preparation agreement to facilitate the Hajj for its citizens.

“It’s standard procedure for all countries. So it’s THEIR issue, not ours,” said Al Bar.

This week Saudi media have highlighted the arrival of a few Iranians. They’ve come to Mecca via other countries, and most are dual nationals.

Tensions have been running high between Saudi Arabia and Iran after a stampede left hundreds of people dead last year. Iran had wanted to join the investigation into the disaster, but Saudi Arabia considered it an internal matter and refused Iran access.

Iran has boycotted Hajj before – for three years, in the late 1980s. Back then, Saudi police used to clash with Shi’ite pilgrims who were using the Hajj as a platform to protest.

So is Iran going to extend this boycott? The statements from officials on both sides indicate it’s likely. Saudi Arabia says the pilgrimage shouldn’t be politicized. But it has become a political issue. And neither country seems prepared to back down.