First group of Iranian Hajj pilgrims fly to Saudi Arabia

First group of Iranian pilgrims left Iran for Saudi Arabia on early hours of Monday for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Iranian officials in charge of Hajj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Iran Abdullah bin Saud al-Anzi and Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash participated in a ceremony to see off the pilgrims in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.
This year’s Hajj rituals come after a last year rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both countries reached a China-mediated agreement in March 2023 to restore their diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions after seven years.
Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 following an attack by protesters enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.
In April, the first group of Iranian pilgrims in nine years made its way to Saudi Arabia for the
Iran suspended all umrah pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia in April 2015. The decision came following reports that two Iranian youths were sexually assaulted at the airport in Jeddah by Saudi security officers while en route to the Islamic holy sites.
The umrah can be performed at any time and is not deemed compulsory for Muslims.
The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Islam that Muslims who possess financial self-sufficiency are religiously obliged to perform at least once in their lifetime.
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