ممثلية المملكة العربية السعودية في جنوب أفريقيا Republic of South Africa The Embassy Embassy News The Saudi Ministry of Hajj revealed in a statement that the Iranian delegation refused to sign the agreement on finalizing The Saudi Ministry of Hajj revealed in a statement that the Iranian delegation refused to sign the agreement on finalizing Last updated: 5/18/2016 4:26 PM Page Image Image Caption Page ContentRiyadh, Sha'ban 5, 1437, (May 12, 2016,) SPAMinistry of Hajj and Umrah stated that derived from its duties and responsibility towards serving the guests of the Grand Mosque, it would like to make it confirm that Saudi Arabia's leadership, government and people welcome and is honored to serve guests of the Two Holy Mosques of pilgrims, Umrah observers and visitors of all nationalities, ad this service is considered by the Kingdom as the most important Islamic duty. The Ministry added in an announced statement that: "Every year, under the guidance of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah call all officials for the affairs of the pilgrimage, in the Arab and Islamic countries, as well, and countries with Muslim minorities to come to the Kingdom, to examine and discuss the arrangements and requirements of their respective pilgrims Affairs, as there are as many as more than 78 stated, including the (Islamic Republic of Iran).The statement continued that the ministry would like to explain to the public what happened in the year 1437H (2016), regarding the pilgrimage officials, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as follows:First/ the President of the Hajj Organization of Iran, H.E. Said Oouhdi, has been invited to come to the Kingdom to discuss and debate arrangements for the affairs and requirements of the Iranian pilgrims performing Hajj this Year 1437H (2016), in line with the letter of the Minister of Hajj No. 479/G dated 25/01/1437H (07 Nov. 2016).Second/ the Ministry followed up the arrival mechanism of the Iranian delegation with the related authorities until the Iranian delegation obtained entry visas to the Kingdom, through the Kingdom's mission, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 29/06/1437H (07 April 2016).Third / the Ministry met with a delegation of Hajj affairs from the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by the President of the Organization of the Iranian Hajj and visits, H.E. Said Oouhdi, on 07/07/1437H (14 April 2016). During the meeting, all matters relating to the visit and the affairs of the Iranian Hajj, were discussed. Fourth/ Delegation of the Iranian Hajj Affairs refused to sign the minutes of the agreement to conclude the arrangements for the pilgrimage of this year 1437H (2016), citing the desire to discuss it with their authorities in Iran, and expressing their strong determination that the following demands should be met:That visas shall be granted to their pilgrims from inside Iran.To reformulate the paragraph on civil aviation with respect to dividing transporting pilgrims between the Iranian air carrier and the Saudi air carrier, a demand that is contrary to the internationally recognized practice.To include clauses in the minutes to allow them to hold Kameel prayer, disownment (Albaraah) rituals and the visitor announcement, as such gatherings obstruct the movement of the rest of pilgrims from the other Islamic countries.Furthermore, the statement pointed out that the Iranian delegation left Saudi Arabia on Tuesday 12/07/1437H (19 April 2016), without signing the minutes of the agreement for the arrangements for their pilgrims for the Year 1437H (2016), even though the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah welcomed and made it clear to the Iranian delegation that with regard to granting visas for Iranian pilgrims, it is possible to obtain Hajj visas online, through entering the data of their pilgrims, using the unified electronic system for the international pilgrims.With regard to discontinuation of the arrival of Iranian pilgrims from inside Iran, the statement stated: "The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah would like to indicate that the authorities in the Kingdom never prevented the Iranian Umrah pilgrims from coming, and the ban was imposed by the Iranian government, using it as a means for numerous media pressure exerted on The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."The statement stressed that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah issued this statement to underscore, once again, that Saudi Arabia's leadership, government and people welcome all pilgrims, visitors from around the world as well as from different nationalities and sectarian affiliation, and it would not prevent any Muslim from coming to the Holy Lands to practice religious rituals as long as they are taking place, in the framework of the policies and instructions organizing Hajj affairs, since Saudi Arabia has mobilized all human and material potentials to serve the pilgrims and visitors and to ensure their safety and comfort, during Hajj and Umrah. And any party that prevents its citizens from exercising their right to perform pilgrimage, shall be responsible for its decision and be held accountable beforeAllah and the entire world.