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Iran cites progress on Haj talks

Iranians did not attend last year’s Haj after the two countries severed diplomatic ties

Gulf News

Tehran: Iran said on Sunday there had been progress in talks with Saudi Arabia on allowing citizens of the Islamic republic to join this year’s Haj, despite some remaining issues.

Iranians did not attend last year’s Haj after the two countries severed diplomatic ties and failed to agree on security measures.

“Most of the questions up for discussion have been resolved and a couple of issues are remaining,” the ISNA news agency quoted Ali Ghazi Askar, the Iranian supreme leader’s representative for Haj affairs, as saying.

“If those questions are resolved, we hope pilgrims will soon be sent to Saudi Arabia,” he added, without giving details.

Talks have been ongoing since an Iranian delegation travelled to Saudi Arabia on February 22.

Last year marked the first time in nearly three decades that Iranians did not attend the pilgrimage, considered one of the most important religious obligations for able Muslims.

A key issue has been compensation for the families of hundreds of people killed in a stampede during the 2015 Haj. Iran says 464 of its citizens died in the disaster.

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