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Iran suspends Saudi pilgrimages over youth assault allegations

After assault accusations of Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, Iran has suspended umrah pilgrimages.
Pilgrims queue upon their arrival at Jeddah airport November 10, 2009. Expecting an approximate three million pilgrims from over 160 countries to congregate around Mecca's holy sites for the annual haj pilgrimage, Saudi authorities have tightened health measures at the airports and sea ports as well as created the 300-bed capacity King Saud Hospital especially for H1N1 flu cases. About 580,000 pilgrims have arrived so far to the Western region of Saudi Arabia.        REUTERS/Susan Baaghil (SAUDI ARABIA HEAL
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Iran has suspended flights for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia over accusations that two Iranian youths were assaulted at the airport in Jeddah by Saudi security officers. The alleged incident has exasperated tensions between the two regional rivals that are at odds over a number of regional wars.

Iranian Minister of Culture Ali Jannati said on April 13 that the decision was made to suspend the flights for umrah pilgrimage over the incident in which “the nation’s public honor has been tainted.” Umrah pilgrimages are not mandatory in Islam and can be made at any time.

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