First Iran group in nine years heads to Saudi Arabia for Umrah pilgrimage

First Iran group in nine years heads to Saudi Arabia for Umrah pilgrimage By A Robin - April 23, 2024
Umrah pilgrimage

Umrah pilgrimage

Iranian pilgrims embarked on their journey to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage, marking the first such group in nine years, as reported by Iran's official news agency. Departing from Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport, these pilgrims signify a positive turn in relations between the two countries.

This development follows a China-mediated agreement between Tehran and Riyadh last year, aimed at restoring diplomatic ties and reopening embassies after a prolonged hiatus. While Iranians were permitted to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage last year, access to Umrah had been restricted until now.

The rupture in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran occurred in 2016 following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran during protests over the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr. Despite recent announcements in Iranian media regarding Umrah access, technical issues led to repeated delays.

According to reports, 5,720 Iranian Umrah pilgrims are scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia this year. The departure of the initial group was attended by the Saudi ambassador to Tehran, Abdullah bin Saud Al Anazi, along with several Iranian officials.

Unlike Hajj, which has specific dates according to the lunar calendar, Muslims can undertake the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca at any time of the year.

By A Robin - April 23, 2024

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