By Talib Bin Mahfouz
JEDDAH — Iran, which boycotted last year’s Haj after refusing to sign an agreement organizing the fifth pillar of Islam, has been invited to send its pilgrims to perform Haj this year.
Iranian officials acknowledged the receipt of the invitation letter and said they were willing to discuss all Haj-related issues with the Kingdom.
A source said the Kingdom reiterated that it welcomes all Haj and Umrah pilgrims regardless of their race or religious sects. He said that Haj regulations equally apply to all pilgrims, including Iranians, without any disparities.
The source said the ministry has sent similar letters to its counterparts in 80 countries asking them to send their representatives to the Kingdom to discuss Haj arrangements for their pilgrims.
Iran last year refused to sign the document on the organization of Haj and asked that its pilgrims be allowed to organize gatherings and demonstrations which the Kingdom totally refused. Iran subsequently prevented its more than 60,000 pilgrims from proceeding to the Kingdom for Haj.
However, more than 700 Iranians living in the US, Europe and other countries came for Haj last year and were warmly welcomed by Saudi officials.