Saudi Arabia says Iranians will rejoin Hajj

Pilgrims at the Hajj in Saudi Arabia Photo: AlJazeera
Pilgrims at the Hajj in Saudi Arabia
Photo: AlJazeera

Saudi Arabia on Friday said Iranians would take part in the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in the kingdom this year after they missed the annual ritual in 2016 amid a dispute between both countries.

The Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimage said that authorities in both countries had finalised arrangements for Iranians’ participation in the upcoming Hajj season slated for early September.

The arrangements were discussed during a visit last month by an Iranian official delegation to Saudi Arabia, the ministry added in a statement, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA.

Relations between the two regional rivals reached a low point in 2016 when Iranians were unable to go to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj due to a row on pilgrimage regulations.

Mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

In January 2016, Riyadh cut off diplomatic ties with Iran after a mob stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in protest against Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 people, including a prominent Shiite cleric.

Devout Muslims are expected to perform the Hajj, one of Islam’s five pillars, at least once in their lifetime, provided they are fit enough and have the financial means to do so.


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