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Saudi Arabia denies preferential treatment for Iranian pilgrims

Iran Materials 3 February 2010 23:55 (UTC +04:00)
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday denied that it would provide preferential treatment for Iranian pilgrims despite Iran warned to cancel Umrah for its citizens, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Saudi Arabia denies preferential treatment for Iranian pilgrims

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday denied that it would provide preferential treatment for Iranian pilgrims despite Iran warned to cancel Umrah for its citizens, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
   An anonymous source in the Saudi Ministry of Hajj denied that Iranian pilgrims would receive preferential treatment as his country has provided preferential treatment to all Muslims from all over the world during the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) and Hajj seasons, Xinhua reported.
   Iran's official IRNA News Agency has earlier reported that Iran would probably cancel Umrah alone for Iranians due to the ill- treatment Iranians receive while being on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
   Head of the Iranian pilgrimage mission Mohammadi Reyshahri was quoted by IRNA as saying that his country will prevent Iranian pilgrims from heading for Saudi Arabia for Umrah if talks with Saudi authorities over the issue failed.
   "Riyadh is keen on mobilizing all its resources to offer high levels of care and protection for all the pilgrims with no exceptions...there are no special understandings with the Iranian side about any preferential treatment," the Saudi source told SPA.
   "If Iran wants to disrupt one of the rituals of Islam for its citizens, this is its own affair and we do not interfere in the internal affairs of other states."
   The pilgrimage season has witnessed clashes between Iranians and Saudi security forces.
   In 1987, hundreds of Iranian pilgrims were killed in confrontations. The two countries severed ties for four years following the incidents.

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