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Upcoming hajj pilgrimage again inflames Saudi-Iran tensions

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued his strongest condemnation of Saudi Arabia yet in response to the stampede during last year’s hajj pilgrimage.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo - RTX2FG6B

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered perhaps his harshest comments against regional rival Saudi Arabia ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

During last year’s hajj pilgrimage, 472 Iranians were killed in a stampede in the city of Mina. More than 2,000 people were killed in the stampede, according to news agencies. Saudi authorities at the time denied the high death toll, claiming it was closer to 700 people. A number of prominent Iranian officials, including Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon, were killed in the stampede.

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