Number of Iranian pilgrims in Mecca exceeds 22,000

Thu 10 August 2017 15:56 GMT | 19:56 Local Time

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About 22,500 Iranian pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, Hamid Mohammadi said Aug. 10, state-run IRIB TV reported.

A fourth of them was transported by Saudi airlines and the rest by Iranian airliners, he said.

Up until now, Saudi Arabia has issued 45,000 visas for Iranians. Previously, Iran had announced that 80,596 Iranians would perform Hajj this year, Trend reports.

Iranians could not perform Hajj last year. Riyadh cut its ties with Tehran in early 2016 due to the violent protests in front of its Iran-based diplomatic missions right after the Kingdom’s execution of leading Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Since that time, Iranians lost the ability to attend the Hajj.

A year earlier, a deadly stampede had occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, killing thousands of pilgrims, including about 400 Iranians.

In January, however, Iran stated that it had received official invitation from Saudi Arabia, announcing the latter’s willingness to host Iranian pilgrims.

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