Why Iran decided not to send its citizens to “Hajj” this year

In a statement on his website, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Saudi Arabian authorities “murdered” Muslim pilgrims who were injured during last year’s hajj stampede, as Mecca prepares to host the annual event again.

“The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers — instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst”, added Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as quoted The Guardian

In comments published later on Monday by the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and interior minister, Mohammed bin Nayef, said Iran had decided not to send its citizens to the pilgrimage this year, which starts on Friday. He added that ” Iran was attempting to politicise the hajj.”

The September 2015 stampede and crush of pilgrims killed at least 2,426 people, according to an Associated Press count. Tehran has said 464 of the dead were Iranians and blamed the catastrophe on Saudi mismanagement of the annual pilgrimage.

“These accusations are not only unfounded, but also timed to only serve their unethical, failing propaganda,” Abdulmohsen Alyas, the Saudi undersecretary for international communications and media at the Ministry of Culture and Information told The Guardian.