Saudi Arabia to deport 150 Iranian pilgrims
Saudi Arabia reportedly orders deportation of 150 Iranian pilgrims from the holy city of Medina in the west of the kingdom, accusing them of travelling there on fake visas, Press TV reported.
On the orders of Saudi authorities, Saudi police prevented the Iranians from leaving the airport to perform pilgrimage, Fars News Agency reported on Monday.
The pilgrims asserted that their visas had been issued by the Saudi Consulate in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad and upon payment of the due fees.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi said on Monday that the country's Foreign Ministry had entered talks with Saudi officials to resolve the issue.
According to the head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Ali Layali, about 97,000 Iranians are now on pilgrimage in Medina and the Muslims' holiest city of Mecca, also in the west of the kingdom.
On an annual basis, thousands of the faithful from across the Muslim world take part in the Hajj pilgrimage, which is Islam's foremost religious gathering and the world's largest annual congregation.
More than 1.5 million Muslims have already arrived in Saudi Arabia on the pilgrimage, Saudi media reported on Monday.