0445 GMT February 18, 2018
Akbar Ranjbarzadeh made the comments on Wednesday while speaking to reporters after Parliament’s closed session, attended by Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi Amiri and Hojatoleslam Ali Qazi Asgar, representative of Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei at the pilgrimage, IRNA reported.
Salehi Amiri and Qazi Asgar were in Parliament to brief lawmakers on the recent developments over the Hajj pilgrimage and the issue of sending Iranian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj, in a letter, has expressed the country’s readiness to accept Iranian pilgrims, in case the Islamic Republic of Iran is also willing to send its pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in the Hajj season, Ranjbarzadeh said.
Ranjbarzadeh also said that since Iran has no embassy in Saudi Arabia to protect its citizens there, Riyadh has agreed to guarantee their full safety from the very moment they enter Saudi Arabia till the time they leave the country.
Relations between Tehran and Riyadh soured in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in protest at death of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in 2015, and also the execution of Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.