No Haj for Iranians amid Saudi 'sabotage'
Tehran, May 12: Iran on Thursday said it will not send pilgrims to Haj this year because Saudi Arabia was refusing to cooperate on arrangements for Iranians to join the annual rituals in September. “Conditions are not prepared for conducting Haj; we have lost the time; we made our utmost effort but the sabotage is coming from the Saudis,” Iranian minister Ali Janti said. An Iranian delegation, according to Press TV, held four days of talks in Saudi Arabia last month aimed at thrashing out a deal, but with Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran closed since January and Iranian flights to the kingdom halted, they hit deadlock. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on January 3 following attacks on vacant Saudi diplomatic perimeters in Tehran and Mashhad by angry people protesting the kingdom’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Janti said the Saudis mistreated Iranian delegates headed by chairman of Iran’s Haj and Pilgrimage Organisation, Saeid Ouhadi, subjecting them to finger-printing among other hostile measures. (IANS)