Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Hamid Mohammadi said on Monday conditions are not ripe for the country to resume dispatching nationals to Saudi Arabia’s holy cities for performing the Umrah (minor Hajj) pilgrimage, according to Tasnim News Agency.
“The resumption of the Umrah pilgrimage requires special arrangements and mechanisms and it will take place if Saudi Arabia fulfills them,” Mohammadi said on Monday.
Although it can be expected that after the resumption of Iranians’ Hajj pilgrimage dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia would be held on similar cases, the two sides’ political relations have not been normalized yet, he said.
“The resumption of the Umrah pilgrimage in the current situation is not possible due to the lack of proper political grounds, arrangements, and mechanisms,” he added.
The Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca performed by Muslims. Unlike the Hajj, which is also known as the “major Hajj pilgrimage”, it can be undertaken at any time of the year.
Tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over a deadly crush of people during the 2015 pilgrimage.
An event described as a "crush and stampede" on September 24, 2015 caused deaths estimated at well over 2,000 pilgrims, suffocated or crushed during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia.