Tehran, Iran, July 30
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
Iran has flown a first group of its pilgrims on Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia since Riyadh ruptured diplomatic ties with Tehran and withheld cooperation on arranging the pilgrimage for Iranians last year.
The Iranian pilgrims departed from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas for the holy city of Medina early Sunday, IRIB news agency reported July 30.
Riyadh cut its ties with Tehran in early 2016 after violent protests in front of its Iran-based diplomatic missions against the kingdom’s earlier execution of leading Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Since then, Iranians have been unable to go on Hajj.
A year earlier, a deadly human crush had occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, killing thousands of pilgrims, including about four hundred Iranians.
In January, however, Iran said it had been sent an invitation by Saudi Arabia announcing the latter’s willingness to host Iranian pilgrims.
The Iranians going on the pilgrimage this year number 80,596.