TEHRAN – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has expressed his opposition to a merger of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization and Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO).

“I have emphatically cautioned Mr. president that the merger of this organization (the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization) with the tourism organization is not right,” Ayatollah Khamenei’s office said in a letter to Hojatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, according to HPO website.

Reyshahri is the Leader’s representative to the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization.

The Leader has ordered the HPO should follow its routine work and said that the HPO director and the culture minister be informed of the decision.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration had ordered the merger in April.

Many politicians and clerics were highly critical of the decision.

Last Monday, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi called the decision “hasty and offensive” and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani urged the administration to review the decision