Iranian delegation to visit Riyadh to discuss hajj pilgrimage rift

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi has told a press conference that “an Iranian delegation will visit Saudi capital of Riyadh this week to discuss prospects of hajj pilgrimage with Saudi officials; the visit is by an official invitation by Saudi sides,” according to Mehr news.

This follows a rift between both countries after Iran said last year that its pilgrims would not attend the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had criticized Saudi Arabia over how it runs the hajj after a crush in 2015 that killed hundreds of pilgrims, and suggested Muslim countries think about ending Riyadh's control of the annual pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia accused Iran of seeking to politicize the pilgrimage, saying in turn that Iran was compromising safety with its actions.

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