A prominent Iranian lawmaker says Saudi Arabia's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Iran will likely force the Islamic Republic to stop sending pilgrims to the annual hajj.
Lawmaker Mohammad Ali Esfanani, spokesman of the Judicial and Legal Committee of the Iranian parliament, made the comments on Monday.
The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Esfanani as saying: "When a country has cut diplomatic relations with us, it means it is hostile with us."
He also says that "it appears that protection (of pilgrims) and security issues will prevent hajj from taking place."
Saudi Arabia has not officially commented on whether the kingdom's severing of ties with Iran also meant that pilgrims from Iran can no longer attend the hajj. The pilgrimage is required of every able-bodied Muslim once in a lifetime.
When Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran from 1988 to 1991, Iran stopped its pilgrims from attending the hajj.
An Iranian official has denounced Saudi Arabia's move to cut diplomatic relations with Iran and accused the Sunni kingdom of stoking tensions region-wide, according to a news agency. - Idrak