However, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Haj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia said that his country was willing to issue visas to Iranians who apply from outside Iran, Saudi daily Al Watan reported on Monday.
The spokesperson said that several Iranian expatriates in Europe had applied through accredited tour operators for the pilgrimage visas.
The visas will be issued through the operators as per the regulations, and two or three offices will be set up in Makkah to serve and assist the Iranian pilgrims who will be coming to the kingdom, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry, Osama Al Naqli, told the daily that pilgrimage visas were issued by the Haj and Umrah ministry, and not the foreign ministry.
“We have waited for the response of Saudi officials, but given their behaviour in the two rounds of negotiations with an Iranian delegation and the obstructions they have created, Iranian pilgrims cannot perform the rituals this year,’ Jannati said. He did not elaborate on the nature of the “obstructions.”
Two rounds of negotiations had taken place between the two countries, but there has been no resolution, he said, adding that he was sorry Iranians will not be able to do Haj this year.
The Iranian decision was announced two days after the delegation dispatched by Tehran to the Red Sea city of Jeddah to discuss the arrangements related to the Iranian pilgrims returned home without signing an accord with Saudi Arabia.
The failed talks were the second between the two sides ahead of the Haj season in September.
All countries that send pilgrims sign an agreement with Saudi authorities to coordinate the visas, travel and stay of their nationals during the religious event.
The Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah said in a statement that the members of an Iranian delegation who arrived in Jeddah to discuss the arrangements for the pilgrimage in September left Saudi Arabia without signing the necessary agreement.
The two sides reportedly held lengthy negotiations over the arrangements and issued statements afterwards described the talks as “positive”.
The formal signing of the final accord was scheduled for the next day.
However, the Iranian delegation did not show up for the signing and eventually left two days later without the formal accord that paves the way for Iranians to perform Haj.
The Saudi statement said that the two sides discussed all issues related to issuing the visas and the travel arrangements and that the ministry suggested solutions to all points raised by the Iranians.
The Saudi ministry said that it approved issuing Haj visas electronically from Iran since Saudi Arabia in January severed ties with Iran following attacks on its embassy in Tehran and its general consulate in the northern city of Mashhad and there were no diplomatic mission in the country.
The ministry also approved the Iranian request to be diplomatically represented through the Swiss embassy to look after the interests of Iranian pilgrims, the statement added.
“However, the Iranian delegation expressed its desire to leave for home without signing the minutes of the arrangements for the Iranian pilgrims,” the statement said.
“Accordingly, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah is confirming that the delegation of the Iranian Haj and Visit Organisation that refused to sign the minutes of the arrangements for Iranian pilgrims will be responsible before Allah Almighty and before its own people for the inability of the Iranian citizens to perform Haj this year.”
“The Ministry of Haj and Umrah is always ready to cooperate for serving the pilgrims and facilitating their arrival procedures”, the statement added.