The Ministry for Hajj and Umrah and based on its duty and responsibility to serve visitors of the Holy Mosque, and assures everyone that the leadership, Government, and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are welcoming towards, and are honored to serve Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors from all nationalities. It considers this service, the most important Islamic duty for the Kingdom. The Ministry in a statement continued to say: "Every year, as per the direction of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah directs all officials concerned with Hajj Affairs in Arabic and Islamic countries as well as countries with a Muslim minority to come to the Kingdom to discuss and negotiate arrangements and requirements of their Hajj pilgrims. The number of those countries reaches 78 countries, and amongst them is the Islamic Republic of Iran,


The Ministry's statement continues to state events in regards to officials from the Hajj Affairs Authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran.




The Head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi was invited to the Kingdom to discuss and negotiate the arrangements and needs of their Hajj Pilgrims for Hajj year 1437 Hijri, as per the letter of the Saudi Minister for Hajj number 479/kh dated 25/1/1437 Hijri.




The Ministry followed up the mechanism of arrival of the Iranian Delegation with the concerned authorities till visas for the Iranian Delegation were issued via the Saudi Diplomatic Mission in Dubai - UAE on 29/6/1437 Hijri.




The Ministry met with the Hajj Affairs Delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was headed by the head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi on 7/7/1437 Hijri; all matters relating to the visit and the Iranian Hajj requirements were discussed during that meeting.




The Head of the Iranian Delegation refused to sign the minutes of the agreement to seal the arrangements of Hajj for year 1437 Hijri, as he stated that he wishes to present those first to officials in Iran, while he strongly stressed their demands:


·         Visas for their pilgrims to be granted from inside Iran


·         Re-drafting of the paragraph relation to civil aviation in terms of dividing transportation of  Iranian Pilgrims between an Iranian air carrier and a Saudi air carrier, which is considered a breach of the international practice


·         To include a paragraph relating to permitting Iranian Pilgrims to perform Kameel ritual, ceremony of innocence, and the visitor handout; knowing that such gatherings hinder the movement of the rest of Pilgrims from the Islamic World


The Iranian Delegation departed the Kingdom on Tuesday 12/7/1437 Hijri without signing the agreement relating to their pilgrims arrangements for Hajj year 1437 Hijri, knowing that the Ministry for Hajj and Umrah has clarified to the Iranian Delegation that in regards to visa issuance for Iranian Pilgrims, it is possible for them to obtain Hajj Visas electronically online by inserting their pilgrims particulars using the standardized electronic system for overseas pilgrims.


With regards to the halt in the arrival of Umrah pilgrims from Iran, the statement said: "The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah wishes to point out that the Saudi authorities did not prohibit the arrival of Iranian Umrah pilgrims; rather the ban was imposed by the Iranian Government, as one of the various means to pressure the Saudi Government.


The statement emphasized that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah issued this statement to underscore, once again, that Saudi Arabia's leadership, Government, and people welcome all Hajj and Umrah Pilgrims as well as visitors from around the world, and from different nationalities and religious affiliations; and that they do not prevent any Muslim from coming to the Holy Lands to practice religious rituals, as long as they take place within the framework of compliance and instructions adopted for Hajj; and Saudi Arabia has mobilized all human and material capabilities to serve the Pilgrims and visitors, and to ensure their safety and comfort, during performing Hajj and Umrah.


Anyone who decides to prevent their nationals from exercising their right to perform Pilgrimage, shall be responsible for their decision and be held accountable before Allah and the whole world.





12 May 2016